By Will Johnston
Where is the line any more?
Tupac was a convicted sex offender.
Elvis was in a relationship with Priscilla Presley from when she was 14 (he was 24).
Snoop Dogg went through the courts for years before he was acquitted of murder.
R Kelly? He's been charged with sexual abuse, with alleged victims between 13 and 17.
Then there's Michael Jackson, a man who has been accused of terrible things with underage boys.
Here's my question: regardless of the abhorrent and deplorable things a human does, should it change how you see or listen to their music?
Don't get me wrong, touching children (or anyone for that matter) inappropriately is just so unbelievably disgusting and unacceptable.
I personally find Michael Jackson just a bit creepy all round. I always got a weird vibe from him.
But I've also always loved his music. I used to impersonate his moves to his music at family gatherings as an unco-ordinated, high-voiced, rotund little 5-year-old.
So now I'm confused. Does me liking his music mean that I support his life choices?
Does me liking Kevin Spacey's acting work mean I support some of the 'dodgy as hell' and gross things he's done in his personal life and while on film sets?
Then I think about the modern era of music we all love, and how I love that music because they are talking about things in their personal life and what they do/believe and feel as people.
Artists like Adele, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Katy Perry and Ariana Grande are all musicians who have made a career of writing songs specifically about what has happened to them and their thoughts on it.
So does that mean if they do something illegal in their personal life I'm not allowed to like listening to their music in general, or just some specific songs?
You might notice by now that I have no answers for you. It's because I have none.
No one seems to.
It's a very interesting time in the social climate of the world. The grey areas are bigger and greyer than they've ever been on what you can and can't say, do, or like.
One day you're dressed as a native American Indian at a costume party (may I draw your attention to The Village People) and the next you're losing your job and all future career prospects because you're an inconsiderate racist.
I'm struggling to keep up with what's acceptable.
So does that mean I should become more considerate?
Or just not care and live my life and say what I want, because how much do people really care about it?
There seems to be a social acceptance pendulum swinging back and forth.
Does this mean we now need to research every single artist that we listen to, every single actor/actress that is on any screen we watch (not to mention the people who produce/direct/fund anything we watch or hear)?
And if there is a hint of having broken the law, or being dodgy, we have to not be free to
listen or watch them in a public or private space?
What about me?
I've said and done things I regret in my life. Do I now need to declare all of those on the radio and in all columns I write?
What about you?
Every time you meet someone new do you have to tell them your deepest, darkest secrets of bad things you've done?
That would go badly, right?! No one would ever work again, let alone have friends or relationships.
Again, I don't know what the right thing to do is. Do we take it back to the democracy we live in and have a vote?
So I did that this week on my radio show. I asked: "Regardless of what someone has done in their personal life, no matter how disgusting and illegal, should their music still be played in public?"
Eighty-three per cent of people said yes it should be.
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• Will Johnston is the local 9am-3pm host for The Hits Bay of Plenty 95FM. He's also a celebrant and MC. Follow Will on Instagram on @radiowill.