Unconditional Love is a Lie [Op-Ed]

**Editor’s Note: Last summer OG wrote a beautiful review on Daniel Caesar’s Freudian. By now we’re all aware of what Daniel Caesar said on his Instragram account and because of that I made the decision to hide the review from the website. Here’s his response:

We profess the depths of our love for the special people in our lives and speak on how our feelings of admiration are endless, but it's not true. The reality is that we simply can't foresee the circumstances in which our love will end. The extreme sequence of events that would have to occur for us to no longer love are such a far off notion that they are beyond the limits of our imagination. Combine that with the trust we have in the object of our affection not to test those limits, there's no way we can draw that proverbial line in our mind until we arrive at it.

You've heard and read all the headlines. Michael Jackson touched kids. James Brown and Miles Davis were physically abusive towards women in their lives. R. Kelly abuses women. Kanye says slavery was a choice. Daniel Caesar says Black people need to stop being so mean to White people. Artists who were and are beloved have behaved in ways and said things that test the limits of their fans’ love, and for many have crossed a line of no return.

Each of us has a line. Your line is probably different from mine, and mine is probably different from yours.

Today's “cancel” culture is one which tries to apply one group of people’s line to an entire population. If Artist A says or does something foul, we're ALL expected to burn their album in the town square (or in 2019, mass delete their mp3s). But there is no universal line in which an artist can be “canceled”. The line has to be drawn by each one of us individually. The choice to delete songs, discard albums, or participate in a protest rally to mute an artist is a decision we each must make for ourselves. The breaking point for each of us will vary and only you can define it in your life.

Music is so interconnected with our lives that we use songs as mileposts along life's journey. It's hard to come to grips with the fact that the song that played in the background as you had your first kiss was performed by an artist that is now standing trial for murder. The feelings you associate with that song and that artist are nearly inextricable from your life's story. Meanwhile, someone with a different life journey, without that connection, may be able to cut that artist off without a second thought. Other times it's not the particular life experience of the listener, but their perception of an artists thoughts, words, or deeds. We each stand at different angles viewing the same focal points and come away with a different visual picture. Expecting everyone to to share the same response to the latest headline is akin to to expecting everyone to grieve the same way. The loss one person gets over immediately may take years for someone else. Where one may face and address an issue head on, others may live in denial forever.

Nearly every artist will say or do something over the course of their career that will alienate a portion of their fan base. From a wack album to criminal charges to a plethora of things in between, lines will be drawn. Some will bow out early, while others will never leave. Where we disembark on an artist's journey is a personal decision that may even occasionally run contrary to a decision we've made on another artist, but it's ours to make for ourselves. We may not be able to see the breaking point coming until it arrives, but when it shows up we'll undoubtedly know what it is.

Where is your line? What is the breaking point for you to “cancel” an artist?



Recap: Den Music Fest - Atlanta, GA