There’s a concept in the world of the millennials’ internet: your problematic fave.
We all love artists and performers from all walks of life. They all inevitably mess up. And as they continue down a cycle of well scrutinized mistakes, they take a place in your everloving heart, earning the title of “your problematic fave”.
But as a person who cares deeply about sexual assault issues, especially in the music scene, I have a hard time with how to handle problematic faves who are involved in sex crimes.
When artists suffer losses, when they endure heartbreak, we hurt with them. They are strangers and yet we often feel the need to encourage someone who has no idea what our first names are.
RAINN has often told us a sexual assault happens every 107 seconds. Every 107 seconds, a heart is nearly irreparably broken. Some of those heartbreaks are at the hands of people we love. Some of those horrible crimes happen because people we look up to feel what the media makes them into: an invincible, worthy, hero who is entitled to anything or anyone they want.
What we must remember when accusations arise are the other end of those statements: the victims. They are the ones enduring what seems like an endless battle to fight for justice they should never have had to seek. It’s easy to discredit them and defend someone who you’ve spent so much time supporting– emotionally, physically, financially. It is so easy to kick someone you forget is already down.
Music is all about culture. The reason we support those artists who don’t know us is because they once helped us learn about ourselves. And it’s hard to learn the lesson that these invincible celebrities are just people, people who hurt and can be hurt.
Listen. Believe. Validate. These are our core values as an organization. When anyone comes forward with a story, regardless of who it is, we must remember our roles.
I can’t tell you to stop listening to their music or buying their merch. I can’t tell you to immediately turn on someone you’ve admired your whole life. The world is not black and white, I get it. It terrifies and saddens me too. All I’m asking you to do is remember the other person in the mess of allegations, accusations, trials, and verdicts. Remember the person who was willing to endure the battle and tell their story. Build a culture of respect around them where there wasn’t one previously.
Our volunteers are amazing at building this culture when someone tells their story. If you would like to get involved, please fill out an application here.
If you would like to simply pass on some kind words to those who have already told their story, or tell your own story, you can do so here.