My favorite albums of Kanye’s are Last Registration and 808s and Heartbreak. 808s, though, was the last album I listened to, because after that his sound had changed into something different, something that wasn’t so much as experimentation as it was general confusion. Artists are allowed to change, don’t misunderstand. I’m just not convinced his change was for the better.
As time goes on, that becomes increasingly true.
Within the last few months, Kanye took to Twitter to, in classic Kanye style, announce his support of Trump. Beyond that, he went onto TMZ and called slavery “a choice.” He returned to the social media spotlight to spread the word that he is a free thinker, so free we couldn’t fathom his ideas. He later apologized for his slavery comments, but I knew better. He was spotted pairing a Kaepernick sweatshirt and a MAGA hat. In a recent tweet, he expressed support of the abolishment of the 13th amendment, or the one that makes slavery illegal in this country.
I’ve learned of these controversies days after they happened, because, again, Kanye has never been a wordsmith, ironically enough. His thoughts probably move faster than his mouth, or so I would like to think. The truth is that he probably has no idea what he’s thinking, what he stands for. We’re as confused as he is, but unlike Kanye we don’t get the luxury of speak first, go onto a radio show and give a weak apology later.
I do not support this presidency in any shape or form. Conservative values strike me as hypocritical and beneficial for a certain demographic in which I do not belong. Colin Kaepernick’s protest is beautifully executed and I see how he sees Black Lives Mattering. And Kanye is, indeed, entitled to his right to free speech. In my opinion, his free speech is just reckless pot stirring.
It is dangerous to state these things and be surprised by the backlash. Someone of his character, however, wouldn’t understand that. The truth is that he’s as narcissistic as they come, so perhaps his loud support of Trump matches our narcissist of a president. Like begets like, as they say. Nonetheless, Kanye’s rhetoric, or what he may believe to be rhetoric, is threatening. What’s worse is that so many of his followers worship the “deep” posts he puts on social media. They fail to see that what he’s said in recent months is spreading a certain kind of hate that primarily affects Black people. He is the sheppard and his followers the sheep.
I think it would be in his best interest to take a break from social media, from his celebrity status. Be like all the other lowkey celebrities who are living their day-to-day lives and trying to improve themselves out of the eye of the public. He should work on his mental health. He should be a father to his children. We know too much about what goes on behind his closed doors–and that’s the thing, they’re not even closed. I wish we didn’t have to see this side of him.
In the tweet I’ve quoted, he wrote “We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment.”
Now, understanding basic government as well as having seen Ava DuVernay’s documentary on the same subject, this lines comes off as willfully Kanye. Yes, we should provide jobs for ex-convicts and help them ease back into society. The amendment reads: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Perhaps what he was referring to is the loophole–if you’re a prisoner you can be subject to harsh punishment and labor. He later tweeted that he meant to amend the 13th amendment, but that’s the problem. Making these bold statements and then having to redact them, edit them, or remove them all together–they shouldn’t have been made in the first place. Quite frankly he would fare better with a social media manager.
More than anything, Kanye is demonstrating the results of living in an unchecked reality. After the death of his mother, many–myself included–thought that he wasn’t the same. I do still believe that to be true, but for a different reason. When people made that statement, there was an implicit “because she would’ve kept him in line” in the statement. That is putting the responsibility of watching over a grown man on women again, blaming a woman who has passed for the actions of her son. I can’t make that statement anymore–and no one should–because even if she were alive today it is not the responsibility of women to clean up after the messes of men.
Say it with me: Kanye is reckless because Kanye is reckless. Period.
His money and fame are shields, because what does it matter that us average people call him out for the mess he’s made? What we need to realize is that we do have a power. We’re padding his wallets, we’re keeping him relevant. Stop supporting him monetarily. Stop supporting the lackluster creativity of a man who thinks that Trump will be the answer to our problems. Stop supporting a man who reps Chicago so hard even though no one can say for certain what he’s done for the city.
Understand that Kanye is not the free thinker he so desires to be. Whatever freedom he is trying to attain–he’ll never reach it. It doesn’t matter how much money he has, how famous he is, how talented he is. He will always be a threat in this country, because he is will always be a Black man. No amount of photographs with Trump is going to change that.