What to do when you find out your favorite musician is
A general piece of garbage…
You know that band/musician you loved growing up? The one that speaks to you at any age. The one you’ve seen in concert 10+ times? You’ve gone to festivals for them, you’ve had their posters since you were 8, their music got you through the good AND bad times – including moving to a new city as a kid. You requested a song of theirs and dedicated it to your twin sister at your wedding reception…
If you can’t tell, I have a band that fits this bill. And last week, it came to my attention that at least two of their members have revealed themselves as garbage.
And, I’m not kidding when I say that I have supported them, purchased their music and trivia books and even had lunch with them in high school. #BigFan
But, as of last week, that is no more. And, on top of that, I felt a strong urge to take a few more steps. So, if you are devastated and angry at a revelation that a musician that has had a strong impact in your life up to this point is actually COVID-denier – and more – and you aren’t sure what to do with that rage? How do you reconcile with the fact that you supported that trash for so long? Here’s what I’m doing:
- Sit with the fact that you wish they wouldn’t have said anything at all. It’s there. It’s real. AND it’s a red flag of privilege – that ignorance-is-bliss mentality COULD be easier at times, but isn’t something that many humans can afford, nor is it something to seek out. Easier does NOT equal better – at least in this case. Their saying something out loud may feel like a curse. It’s really a blessing. Because, once you know better, you do better, right?
- In your mind/journal, thank them for everything they brought/were to you/did for you in the before times. Maybe vent into a voice message. Scream into a pillow. All good things must come to an end. Now, get to work.
- Cut ‘em off. All social media follows and purchases.
- Call ‘em out. It’s not enough just to unfollow. Let people know the type of folks they are supporting/following. And, if all you can think with this step is, “WOW, another person promoting cancel culture and trying to silence someone”…read up on what cancel culture really is/means (and, this Times article is from 2019…still very much stands)
- Stop streaming. Even though it’s just pennies per stream – they are benefitting monetarily from you still tuning into their music.
- Count up how much money you’ve paid them over the years – posters, albums, concert tickets, merch, etc. – and demand they pay that in donations/reparations. Not sure what reparations are? Nicole Cardoza of Anti-Racism Daily (subscribe to the daily newsletter AND support their work monetarily), shared the following in the February 1, 2021 version of the newsletter:
“Reparations are necessary for achieving racial equity (Brookings). On an individual level, pay it forward to creators you learn from on social media or organizers in your community. On a local level, find the local or state initiative advocating for reparations and support for their work. In addition, I recommend completing the Reparations Now Tool Kit created by the Movement for Black Lives to create a comprehensive plan.”
- That last ask feel like a bit of a stretch? That’s OK. If you have the means, pay those reparations/donations yourself. Installments are fine. Refer to my last point in where to contribute, if you can’t think of anything. (For example: I am contributing to KC Tenants – a multiracial group in my hometown that organizes to ensure everyone has a safe, accessible, and affordable home. I also contribute to Gift KC on a monthly recurring basis).
- Feel like there is a hole in your heart where that music lived? Find some new music – you are in the right place to find independent artists here at imperfect Fifth), and accept that this – like many things and all of 2020 – is a grieving process. You won’t “just get over it”.
Just know that not taking action shows lack of care, and even – dare I say it – complicity?
The world won’t change unless we each take steps – individually and collectively – towards the world we want.