Kanye West defends R. Kelly and Michael Jackson's music in rant about controversial artists
In Lifetime's heartbreaking docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, women share stories about the R&B singer's alleged mental, physical and sexual abuse. As a result of the show, R. Kelly is now under criminal investigation in Georgia, and a #MuteRKelly movement is in full swing. Illinois rejected a permit for the Chicago native to perform at a music festival, and even his peers in the music industry are turning against him.
Last week Lady Gaga pulled her collaboration with R. Kelly, Do What U Want. from all streaming platforms. "I stand behind these women 1000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously," the pop star wrote on Twitter. "What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible."
Now Kanye West, hip-hop icon and man stuck in The Sunken Place, has weighed in on the controversy. During one of his Sunday Service events, in which he plays songs backed by a gospel special, Yeezy argued that art should be separated from the artist. He references Surviving R. Kelly and Leaving Neverland, an upcoming documentary about two boys who allege Michael Jackson sexually abused them while they were underage.
"They want art from the artist. But, anytime they do anything erratic, they just gonna pull up full documentaries on him. And then, they gonna come with the Michael documentary," said Kanye, according to Complex and a live-streamed video recorded by TMZ. "We can enjoy all their music all we want." He sarcastically added, "let's go ahead and take [Leonardo] da Vinci out The Louvre. Let's take down all the art."
It is unclear why Yeezy references Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, as the Italian painter never faced allegations of sexual assault. In fact, da Vinci never married, and his diaries, letters and personal belongings do not indicate he had any romantic interest. In 1472, he and three other men were accused of sodomy (homosexual acts were illegal in Florence), however those charges were dismissed. One of the few references to sex in da Vinci's notebooks reads, "The act of procreation and anything that has any relation to it is so disgusting that human beings would soon die out if there were no pretty faces and sensuous dispositions."
But you didn't come here to learn about 16th century painters, did you? You came here for the latest news on Kanye West and Kim Kardashian! On Twitter, Kim commented on her husband's controversial rant: "Kanye was speaking about his own experience of everyone quick to say they are cancelling him because of differences in opinion & not being perfect. The analogies were in context to his own experiences, not defending anyone else."
She added, "I want to make it very clear, he is not condoning anyone’s actions or unacceptable disgusting behavior. My husband’s words are being taken out of context due to timing."
Sometimes it's hard to separate art from the artist. Do you still like American Beauty, after Kevin Spacey's sexual assault charges? Do you still like Louie, after Louis CK's sexual misconduct scandal? And do still you like Kanye's albums, after all his dumb rants?