Kanye West has never been more controversial than he is now. The artist who arguably changes music with every release has not only recently called slavery “a choice,” but has also come out in support of President Trump and right-wing ideology.
In a piece for The Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates (author of We Were Eight Years in Power and Marvel’s Black Panther comics), he compares Kanye’s recent exploits to O.J. Simpson’s famous statement: “I’m not black, I’m O.J.” Brought back into prominence due to The People v. O. J. Simpson documentary and rapper Jay-Z’s recent single “The Story of O.J.”, the line, according to Coates, symbolized a desperate need for “freedom—white freedom.”
Coates understood, like most of us when Kanye donned that MAGA hat and suggested that slavery was a choice, that in destroying his “black-ness” (like both O.J. and Michael Jackson), he didn’t realize that he was also damaging the hearts of black Americans who viewed him as a god, able to transcend a racist and prejudiced system.
As much as Kanye West discusses his struggles with addiction and being bi-polar on his new album, ye (a record he scrapped and rewrote after his TMZ slavery comments), his excuses still sound uncomfortably familiar to Roseanne’s recent “Ambien makes me racist” apology.
Kanye basically says ‘what do you expect? I’m Bipolar, I was on drugs, and I say manic things’ as a reasoning for his recent behavior, and he treats these “free thoughts” as expressions that should not be returned to and not even really be paid attention to. He doesn’t apologize, and he doesn’t admit that he’s wrong, instead he essentially says that compared to suicidal thoughts, and compared to some of the messed up things his mental illness puts him through, these comments are nothing.
I feel for Kanye West, just like I would for anyone that is tortured by an in-balance in their own brain which they feel that they have no control over, but it doesn’t mean that it’s okay to support a corrupt and hateful politician like Donald Trump, and it doesn’t mean that it’s okay to believe that slavery was a choice.
If that’s just “manic Kanye” talking, then what “Kanye” am I supposed to be paying attention to? The truth is that there is only one Kanye West, and while he is one of the greatest musical artists of our generation, he is a musical genius, not “a” genius.
Kanye West’s support of the people in power gives him the feeling that he is loved by those that control and shape the world. It feels god-like, something that he’s always strived for, but in the process of shaking hands and winning the approval of the Lex Luthor’s of the world, he’s abandoning all those that looked up to him like he was Superman.
What do you think? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.