Music’s knight in shining armor

How fans protect artists from backlash


Sophia Zhao

Certain music artist’s fans protect their favorite creators from backlash. This enables artists to continue their actions.

Nobody is perfect, especially not those who are constantly under the spotlight.

Especially since such people can make mistakes that can be seen by the entire world, the results of which can be extremely unforgiving. They can lose their entire livelihoods just because of one mistake. Some never recover and don’t ever return to the public e while others can continue to live just as they once had with just a small smudge on their reputation.

But what marks the difference between the artists who are shunned and those who continue to be embraced by the public?

Here’s the short answer: their fans.

Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, might’ve made anti-semetic remarks and wore a “White Lives Matter” shirt, but his streams? They only dropped by two percent.

Contrary to this, after Roseanne Barr posted a tweet comparing Valerie Jarrett to “Muslim brotherhood and ‘Planet of the Apes,’” her show, Roseanne, got canceled within hours. The actress has not been in any works since the cancellation of the sitcom and has been reportedly blacklisted from the acting industry.

Why does Ye get to continue to make music and spread his harmful rhetoric while Barr hasn’t been in any works since 2018?

Barr and Ye share a single difference that answers this question: the type of support they get. This stark contrast between how these two are perceived is all a result of their fans. Fans determine whether an artist survives a scandal.

Apart from his music, Ye is a well-known celebrity. The rapper’s fanbase is almost incomparable to Barr’s. Even as a music artist, Ye’s fans get to know the artist on a more personal level through what he produces. Ye has the ability to pour his experiences and beliefs into his music. Because of this, fans can connect with the rapper and feel a sense of loyalty toward him.

Barr, on the other hand, has supporters through the characters she plays. Her fans don’t get to know Barr the way Ye’s fans might be able to. Ye connects with people through his work. Barr doesn’t get the chance to do that as an actress. With this connection, Ye’s fans excuse the rapper’s behavior, unlike how Barr was handled.

Music artists like Ye are shielded from the cancel culture that throws artists, like Barr, out of Hollywood all because of their fans. These fans defend their favorite music artists because of the parasocial relationship they develop through the said artist’s work.

The inability of fans to hold themselves accountable for listening to an artist’s music promotes said artist, whether they support them or not. Furthermore, this support provides music artists with the power to bounce back from scandals more easily than others.

When an artist is able to recover from scandal without effort, the artist’s behavior is basically excused. This gives said music artists the green light to continue their behavior as seen with Ye and fellow rapper, Daniel Hernandez, who is more commonly known as 6ix9ine.

6ix9ine’s first song after being released from prison was “GOOBA.” The song debuted at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 but peaked at #1. (Haset Mekuria)

Hernandez has been in his fair share of scandals. The rapper has been called out for saying racial slurs while also being a convicted felon.

Hernandez pleaded guilty in a 2015 sexual assault of a minor case and received four ars of probation for the crime. The rapper was later sentenced two years on charges of racketeering related to his previous gang activity.

Despite all this, Hernandez continues to make music, successful music at that. Shortly after being released from jail, Hernandez released the song “GOOBA,” which charted at third on the Billboard Hot 100 on its debut.

The support Hernandes continues to receive from his fans is blatant proof that no matter what a music artist does, the shield of said artist’s fans will protect the artist from any kind of backlash they might face.

Hernandez has made no apologies for his harmful behavior, like Ye. Both artists continue to profit off the streams even though both have hurt various groups of people. The two refuse to acknowledge their faults.

Accountability is the first step to change, but this accountability must come from both sides of the aisle. Artists will never learn from their mistakes if they know that they will have support from their fans no matter what they do. Fans should be mindful of who they are listening to and acknowledge the faults of their favorite artists, no matter how much they like them.

Artists will never be fully able to feel remorse for their actions without receiving criticism from all people around them. Fans must hold themselves accountable for the music that they listen to in order to help stop the harmful agenda of certain music artists.