Counterpoint: An Artist’s Music, Not Personal Life, Is What Matters
"My heart wants artists to be able to make music that is evaluated on its own merit and that’s it ... Male or female, it shouldn’t matter who someone falls in love with or the clothes you pick out to wear or what you do in your spare time — it shouldn’t impact your career.”
Lindsay Ell's statement to the Tennessean following the cancellation of a radio station-sponsored performance because of her romantic relationship with country morning show DJ Bobby Bones might sound idyllic, but it's the truth. When it comes to your career, all that should matter is how good your are at it.
When it comes to your career, all that should matter is how good your are at it.
In the non-celebrity world, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and anti-discrimination laws exist to ensure that age, marital status, etc. don't affect someone's career. In the celebrity world, clearly, things get a little stickier. Celebrity status comes not only from being good at your job but from what you wear, who you hang out with, your hobbies -- it's part of the reason sites like The Boot exist!
We're human beings, after all: Your public-facing persona -- yes, including who you date -- is how others judge you; we need to find ways to decide whether or not we like someone, and that's how we do it. But just as you don't necessarily agree with every single thing your friends like and dislike, you don't have to approve of every single thing an artist does to be a fan. Differing perspectives are what make life less dull.
Just as you don't necessarily agree with everything your friends like and dislike, you don't have to approve of everything an artist does to be a fan.
While it doesn't seem fair (or possible, especially with social media) to say that absolutely nothing an artist does outside of their music should affect their career, it also doesn't seem fair to say that something as innocuous as dating a well-known radio DJ, for example, should be one of the things that does. If Ell and Bones dating is an issue, how is Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's marriage not? During their marriage, Reba McEntire was managed by Narvel Blackstock. You don't see lifestyle sites refusing to cover Lady Antebellum because Charles Kelley's wife Cassie founded a competitor, Womanista.
Perhaps radio station KNCI's cancellation of Ell's performance was a one-off misstep -- or perhaps it's not -- but it's proof that people will use their bias to influence someone's career. And fans' and the media's response to their decision is proof that it's not okay.
The Boot and Taste of Country’s collaborative Point / Counterpoint series features staff members from the two sites debating topics of interest within country music once per month. Check back on July 20 for another installment.
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