Should musicians leave politics to the professionals?

Will Nsieyanji argues that musicians should be more careful when expressing their political leanings

William Nsieyanji
21st October 2019
Image: Wikimedia Commons- Eva-Rinaldi
I do not believe that any artist should ever be restricted in their creative freedom, but there are some musicians that should probably leave politics to the professionals as some of their statements seem to be fuelled by emotion and their own personal political agendas rather than facts. The problem with this is the implications of their words and the impact it may have on their fans.

Let’s take Ludacris’ “Obama is Here”, a song he wrote with the intention of celebrating Barrack Obama winning the presidential election in 2008, which ultimately left Mr. Bridges (Ludacris) humiliated and rejected. With potentially ableist lyrics - “McCain don’t belong in any chair unless he’s paralysed”, misogyny - calling Hilary Clinton a “b*tch”, and just outright stupidity - “paint the white house black... Obama is here”, it comes as no surprise that Obama’s campaign immediately condemned the song and renounce any affiliations with it. The past president even stated that the song is “outrageously offensive” and that Ludacris should be “ashamed” of himself. This case demonstrates that sometimes musicians getting political can cause more damage than it resolves.

Another politically notorious artist is Kanye West, who has said so many far-fetched statements that they could only all be true in a dystopian movie. Some of his more controversial comments include:

“Slavery was a choice”

“Bush doesn’t care about black people”

“AIDS is a man-made disease placed in Africa just like crack was placed in the black community to stop black panthers”

I do not want this article to come across as arguing that musicians should never use their art to express politics, but they undoubtedly have a lot of influence over their fans. Therefore they should use this power responsibly and only feed their listeners well-researched and factual news rather than conspiracies.

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