Accountability In Music

Written by Ipeleng Thobejane (@InsightThobe) 
Edited by Dithekgo Mogadime (@DithekgoM)
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Too often in society, we allow classism to overrule morality. There is no clearer evidence of this than looking at celebrities and how we treat them preferentially.
Many are also idolized, almost regardless of their actions… ​

Showing love and appreciation to talented individuals, who may have impacted our lives in a positive manner, isn’t bad. However, it becomes a bad thing when we begin to obsess and give celebrities leverage. That power allows celebrities’ actions to be normalized and allowed, over the greater public good.​


While I don't think that celebrities should earn a "stiffer" punishment or sentence than the average person, as that would then take away the idea of equality, I do,
however, agree that celebrities should be punished when they break the law. Much like the ordinary person.​


The biggest problem in society is not whether or not celebrities are given harsher punishments, but rather, whether or not they're even convicted or punished at all.​
Rarely do celebrities ever get punished. In fact, most aren’t even held accountable for their actions. Due to the idolizing, many people view their favorite celebrities in a
certain light that looks to remove any negative action or criminal activities that they may do. Even when the evidence is blatant and clear. It's as if people are incapable of recognizing that their faves are also human. And like most humans, they're capable of wickedness. ​

You can see examples of this everywhere.​

R-Kelly. He’s been called out plenty of times. There’s been visual and audio evidence. There’s plenty of witnesses and quite frankly, we know everything there is to know. We know about "Surviving R-Kelly", and even his conviction. He was imprisoned and jailed for a bit. Well… before being bailed out by a fan. ​

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Why?”. Is it because of his music? The music is legendary but quite frankly, the man is not the music. You may think your streaming of his music is harmless but in reality, it results in the commercialization of his music
– which ultimately funds his disgusting actions. The world’s known of his actions for decades and yet, he was only held accountable recently (even if it was for a short period).​

I don't understand it. We call women "liars" and various other names, to protect our favorite athletes, musicians and so on. We blindly support the perpetrator, rather than the victim. Ultimately, making the perpetrator the victim. That in itself is a huge problem. ​

But, there are also double standards where women are involved. For example, Cardi


B's admission to drugging and extorting people. She also went ahead and tried to make it seem like it was okay. She wasn’t ridiculed, in fact, she received praise because society allowed her to make it okay. It’s the exact same in local realms,
there are no real repercussions for wrongdoers.​

Consider the perpetrators of domestic abuse. In a country rife with Gender-Based
Violence, we continue to support the perpetrators, who commit these heinous actions. In a country where women aren’t protected enough, we continue to support abusers. Mampintsha still continues to profit off music although there’s literally video evidence of him abusing Babes Wodumo. There needs to be accountability. ​

The same can be said with another local artist, Sho Madjozi. Who, as a woman, was speaking out publicly against issues of Gender-Based Violence, rape, and more social issues. Recently, her own manager was listed out and accused of rape. Sho
Madjozi addressed these allegations, claimed that they are false and ultimately,
supported the alleged perpetrator. While each case is different and holds its own merit, this makes her activism slightly questionable. ​

All of us are part of the problem. Sometimes we fail to acknowledge what our faves do, outside of their abilities. We make excuses, for their inexcusable actions, for them. When they should be the ones to hold themselves to a certain degree of humanity. More often than not, perpetrators receive nothing more than a slap on the wrist. It's because we don't hold these people accountable to the same moral ground as we hold ourselves to. Thus, they fail to hold themselves accountable as well.​

There’s a double standard in our society. It stems from this idea of superiority and inferiority. A classic case of classism. Many go unpunished but also remember,
there are outliers. Although rare, there are occasions where celebrities, especially black ones, are convicted for crimes that they didn't commit. Which might exemplify this classism or double standard. Like those who faced convictions due to petty crimes, like Meek Mill. Or, even more recently, A$AP Rocky. ​

I don't think that celebrities should be given harsher punishments than the rest of society. Quite frankly, "cancel culture" has proven to be a failure. The biggest issue here is that too many celebrities are given leverage. The issue at hand isn't
"canceling" people, because we all have flaws, and that doesn't justify being labeled throughout their whole lives. Even when they do change and mature. The issue at hand is the lack of accountability among celebrities, which ultimately stops them from growing as people.​

But hey, that's just my perspective.
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2 comments

  • One might also argue that unequal people cannot be treated equally , for doing so would be the greatest form of inequality

    J. Samuelson
  • Firstly pardon my typos and grammatical errors.
    In your thirteenth paragraph, you mention how, in your opinion , Sho madjozi’s defence of her manager makes her activism questionable.
    That statement makes it seem as though she is expected to allow her manager to be falsely accused, as though she is expected to let the world beleive her manager is guilty of something he didn’t do.
    We idolize celebrities as you said and whilst commuting these idolatries, we expect them to be perfect as idols should be, wether we’ve made them our own personal idols or not.
    Sho madjozi’s activism and hope for a better future for the women of today cannot be diminished by her defending the freedom of her manager
    Wouldn’t the urge to question , the good intentions of her innocence based on her defending her manager, be part of a greater social norm/I’ll.
    We need to allow celebrities to be treated as innocent until proven guilty, for justice to truly prevail.
    We tend to crucify others idols when their innocence comes into question, naturally anyone with money power and influence would manipulate the Justice system.

    1

    J. Samuelson

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