Stop listening to music by abusers

It really isn’t that hard

Stop giving abusers a platform.
Illustration: Mazie Neill • The Sentry

As of September, XXXTENTACION still has over 26 million -monthly listeners on Spotify, and several songs with over a billion streams. Chris Brown has over 34 million monthly listeners. Pop punk band Falling in Reverse, led by Ronnie Radke, has over three million monthly listeners.

What do all of these artists have in common? They’re proven abusers. Before his death in 2018, XXXTENTACION was facing charges of domestic abuse against a pregnant woman, strangulation, and false imprisonment. Chris Brown made history in 2009 when he received a criminal battery charge against Rihanna, threatening to kill her in an altercation. And Ronnie Radke has racked up a whole slew of rape accusations over the years.

So why are they still so popular? Why do audiences keep listening to people who have openly been accused of violent abuse towards other people in their lives? It’s really not hard to listen to something else. Sure, Chris Brown made some highly popularized music in the early 2000s, contributing to the soundtrack of middle school dances everywhere. But is it absolutely necessary to keep streaming his content, giving him money, just because it sounds good? Hint: no, it’s not. Find another artist, one who didn’t plead guilty to a felony, and one who doesn’t abuse women.

Miss the old Chris Brown era? Listen to Jason Derulo. Want rap music like XXXTENTACION but without the abuse? Try Lil Yachty. Falling in Reverse makes trashy music anyway; just listen to literally anything else. By constantly consuming content from abusive artists, listeners directly contribute to a) the artist’s financial well-being and b) the degradation and invalidation of the victims.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men face intimate partner physical violence. Rape and sexual violence is just as prevalent: every 73 seconds, someone in America is sexually assaulted, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). These crimes do not happen randomly; violent, misogynistic, hateful behaviors are learned, and music can absolutely be a factor in that.

The entertainment industry as a whole has recently been under fire for the rampant, widespread abuse within the industry. From Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby to John Lennon and R. Kelly, the entertainment industry has been built by abusive people. And yet, they all still get so much credit for being “revolutionary.” People still watch movies by abusers, listen to music by abusers, giving them more credit than they deserve. By consuming this content, the audience is directly contributing to the success of really shitty people.

Music plays such an integral role in how people view the world. Everyone listens to music of some kind; it’s a part of everyday life. It’s not an impossibility that music created by abusers directly contributes to hateful, abusive behaviors on behalf of the listeners. In order to support victims of abuse, it’s only necessary that audiences stop listening to the creative works of abusers.

It’s 2020, folks. Just stop listening to music by abusers.

This is a selection from the Oct. 07 issue. To view the full issue, visit:

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