WASHINGTON D.C., DC — When famous musicians, actors, artists are accused of wrong doing, can their fans separate the alleged behavior from the art they’ve created?
Ca’Vette Buford used to be a big R. Kelly fan.
“If you ask anybody, he’s a musical genius,” she said. “He stayed with the times as far as music stands, as far as R&B music, so it was always a good time listening to his music.”
As Buford got older she became more conscious of the music she was listening to. She decided it was time to give up R. Kelly, a call she said she struggled with.
“I just shut it off,” she said. “Cause now that I’m older, now that I can understand what I’m listening to you can kinda connect the dots to things that he has been through, some of the things that he’s done and or accused of, you can tell he’s been writing it down in his music, so I just choose not to listen to it.”
Buford, a sexual abuse survivor, said she tries not to be biased when considering allegations against him.
“You don’t want anybody to be prosecuted who did not do anything,” she said. “When I hear the stories of these young women, when I hear the stories of the families of these young women, I sympathize, I do.”
In February 2019 Chicago authorities charged R. Kelly with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse based on allegations from several accusers. R. Kelly denies the allegations and has pleaded not guilty.
Dimitri Reeves is a Michael Jackson tribute artist. He dances and sings to the sounds of Michael Jackson, James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Bruno Mars.
As an entertainer himself Reeves said he can separate the art from the artist.
“There’s the artist persona and the person,” Reeves said. “People confuse the two all the time.”
“You know people told me, Dimitri you’re different when you get on, you turn into another person cause that’s what it is,” he said. “You know what I mean, it’s like your brain switches codes, like, ‘now let’s do this, do that.’ So, we don’t know the R. Kelly on stage, we don’t know Robert.”
Denise Kinzer is what you’d call a superfan. She is very vocal online about her love and admiration for R. Kelly.
“R. Kelly means a lot to me,” she said. “R. Kelly is one of the first musical artists I heard as a child.”
Her family are also big fans. She said her grandmother wanted to make sure Kinzer was musically educated and they would listen to his music together.
“He’s [R. Kelly] came from nothing,” she said. “I didn’t grow up with much money myself and he’s such an inspiration, he’s helped out so many people, he’s paid for funerals, he’s done a lot of things, and he just means a lot to me.”
Kinzer said R. Kelly has done a lot for the R&B community and that’s just not something she’s willing to give up.
“It’s just we can’t do anything without his music, we can’t have grads, we can’t have cookouts. It’s always involved with him,” Kinzer said.
Kinzer said others can choose to mute R. Kelly, but what she isn’t okay with is people pushing their views on others.
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