Legacy over Morality: Why Fans Turn a Blind Eye to Celebrity Wrongs


IMAGE: Rich Repetit

With R. Kelly underage sex allegations resurfacing like it’s 2002, and Usher being accused of allegedly infecting women with STDs, both entertainers have had a rough 2017 to say the least. It’s been about a decade since R. Kelly was guilty in the court of public opinion, but legally cleared of child pornography charges. After laying low for a while until the smoke cleared, The Culture, partially embraced him again. He reeled us back in with his scripted drama/musical series “Trapped In The Closet” and even other artists were slowly but surely gravitating back to the musical genius for collabs. Yes, “I’m A Flirt” was everyone’s favorite club jam and we grooved to it because what soul can resist a T-Pain club hit in 2007? Am I guilty? Absolutely. Furthermore, the smooth sounds or R. Kelly have always been a staple for family cookouts and wedding reception playlists.  “Love Letter” made us feel just that warm and fuzzy on the inside. He slowly but surely transitioned back to his sexually explicit 12 Play roots with Black Panties and by then, The Culture had “forgotten” all about his alleged underage sexcapades. Everything faded to black as time and a few good records delicately placed a thin veil over our moral consciousness. This same formula played out for Chris Brown and his domestic assault charges against then girlfriend Rihanna, and I’m pretty sure will put the fire out on Usher’s alleged herpes scandal.

Let me preface this by stating, all of the above artists are amazing entertainers with phenomenal careers in music. However, it leads one to think,  as fans, where do we draw the line between backing their legacy as talented human beings, and laying down a  moral compasses with the wrongs of their personal lives? Is there really a time where our conscious kicks in and we stop feeding their careers? If Joe Blow down the street owned a prominent community establishment , but word around town were accusations of him beating his spouse, there would be an outrage, boycott and he’d likely be put out of business. The whole town would be in disgust with a “No way, Jose. He’s never getting my hard earned money again!” type attitude. Does celebrity status pardon all wrong? This isn’t from a judgment seat but more like a “what if it were my daughter, sister, or mother?” perspective. Usher (whom I have openly expressed my support for his artistry), is dealing with a whole lot of social media meme worthy B.S., and well,  R. Kelly is yet again making headlines for accusations that seem to fall right in line with his alleged previous track record.  Guilty or not, we’ll be back to packing out their shows and buying up all their music a year or two from now with no qualms about it. Whether our favorite entertainers are living right, or living foul, as fans, we sweep all negativity under the rug in the name to  protect their legacy.

-Dominique Nicole (@she_is_dominique)

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