Amanda Seales Talks Respecting The Work Of Problematic Artists Separately From Their Characters
In 2018, more than a handful of discussions have ensued surrounding how much (or how little) we should be supporting artists who let us down in the moral department. Bill Cosby, America’s formerly endearing TV dad from The Cosby Show, has already began facing his reckoning after being found guilty of various sexual crimes.
Now, thanks to social media and the platform it provides the voiceless, it’s pretty much open season for any past offenders who have ever dabbled in any form of physical, verbal, psychological or sexual violence. Our musical “faves” are not exempt from getting canceled from here on out, however, it is a difficult ask for the black masses to fully let go of the discographies of people like Nas and R. Kelly. Actress Amanda Seales has a solid idea of why it’s hard to shake that admiration.
“I think it’s always been especially hard for black people to let go of musicians who do heinous things because music is such an integral part of our existence,” she said during an interview with Madame Noire. For her college undergraduate thesis, entitled “Musical People: How Music Moves The Black Experience,” she focused on how historically, styles of black music have directly correlated to a major movement of the time. Nas, who is under silent fire for his abusive past with ex-wife Kelis, was a major block of her paper, and she struggles with giving him that same respect and reverence she has for his craft.
“I’m going through that with Nas,” Seales said. “When I found out that Nas was beating the sh*t out of Kelis was mind-blowing to me. I can spit Nas verses all day long, right here and right now… so I don’t take it lightly, either. But I feel like we have to understand that you can respect somebody’s talent without respecting their character.”
That same attitude, although a little more tricky, also extends to infinitely controversial R. Kelly. “I think with R. Kelly it’s a very unique case because he makes love songs. When I hear, ‘I don’t see nothing wrong…’ I’m like, I know you don’t. That’s the problem. That is very disconcerting to me.”
Watch her entire perspective below.