Can you separate the art from the artist?
Musicians and producers in Durham Region have mixed feelings on the topic in light of the recent controversy over a series of posts by Kanye West, who goes by Ye.
Ye received criticism and backlash after making anti-Semitic views on Twitter last month. His Twitter account was suspended, then returned and is once again suspended.
Due to his comments and outbursts, dozens of brands such as Adidas, Balenciaga, Gap and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. have let Ye go. However, the music-streaming platform Spotify continues to share his music.
David B. Neale, who has produced music for the Toronto Raptors, Karl Wolf and CNN, says Ye’s actions should be entirely separate from the art of music.
“I feel that cancel culture needs to be stopped. We should be able to separate the art from the artist,” he says.
“Look at Christopher Columbus, he discovered America, which led to the killing of millions of slaves. But it’s still beautiful that he found a place like that.”
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek was quoted by Reuters saying Ye’s comments were “just awful” but did not violate the company’s anti-hate policies.
Neale says Ye’s “craziness” is an essential factor in becoming a good artist, and for that, his personality should be separated from the art. When asked if he would collaborate with Kanye West if, given a chance, he replied, “Yes, definitely.”
Cameron Tania, an Oshawa singer-songwriter who recently won Oshawa Music Award for Songwriter of the Year says the opposite.
“Kanye is dealing with mental health issues and I see why Spotify is potentially removing him because actions should have consequences,” she says.
Another Oshawa artist, Daniel Richter (who formerly performed as Valdii) agrees.
“(Ye) is a cool as a musician but I definitely don’t want to get involved with what he is saying ” he says.
They both say they would pass on working with Ye if asked. However, Richter it’s up to each person to decide whether an artist should be supported or not.