The role of politics in music, ads and film


Jacob Waring – Reporter

Eminem’s anti-Trump rap at the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards. Kanye West’s “Ye vs. the People,” which featured Kanye rapping praise upon President Trump and Jim Carrey routinely paints portraits of politicians or political situations with his perspective. Television, movie stars and musicians have been on talk shows expressing their political messages for years.

These are just a few examples of artists incorporating politics into their work. Student opinions ranged from wanting the arts and politics to be separate to viewing relationship as symbiotic for better and for worse.

Joshua Rizek, a senior and philosophy and political science major, said there is nothing wrong with having messages in political art as it is a different, perspective in seeing the world. He thinks an artist’s voice, regardless of being conservative or liberal, should be respected for what it is, and not as an end-all-be-all source of information.

“I think we need to be aware of the actual truthful weight of art,” Rizek said. “I’m not saying artists are not informed but they’re not informed, because they’re artists.”

He said he could see what Rosanne Barr was trying to do with the revival of her show, but comments she had made on television made the show and actor controversial. Rizek said it depends on the context. “So, late night talk show hosts, are literally all on one side and they scoff at anyone in the middle of the country, but I see it, and there is certain context where it’s polarizing,” said Rizek.

Idongesit Udo-okon, a senior and geography major, said that for her, it is dependent upon the nature of the piece when it comes to advertisements. If an artist or organization was not originally in the political arena then she said it was not acceptable in her eyes for them to stray into politics.

“If the ad is from a company like Pepsi or whatever, then I kind of don’t agree with that, but if a politician wants their own ad then I think that’s fine,” she said.

Udo-okon said that artists have every right to incorporate their political messages within their music, films and other art pursuits. She also said that art is an expression of the person’s self, so it is only natural they would want to include their political slants.

“I might not agree with someone else’s political views, but if they want to put it into their songs then they can do it,” she said.

Joe Priester, a senior and biology major, said he believes that everyone is entitled to do whatever they want in terms of incorporating political messages into their art. Priester said it is up to the individual to decide whether to continue to support an artist, a philosophy he follows himself.

There is a double standard, said Priester, When someone’s personal view does not align with another, they do whatever they can to discredit those political messages. He used Taylor Swift and Kanye West as an example of such standards.

“For example, Kanye West and Taylor Swift, it’s easy to say ‘They’re just musical artists, what do they know about politics?’” said Priester. “They’re people and citizens just like us. It’s a way to discredit people as far as double standards go, they’re always going to be around and it all comes down to a matter of interest.”

Photo Credit: Jeff Lamson

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