Roughly three weeks ago, as my eyelids folded and the Twittersphere awoke, I wasn’t shocked that the immovable, idealized presence of Kanye West, with a Globe in his hand, had proceeded to stand in the doorway of millions of millennials.
Disregard all of the donations he had made to Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton just months earlier, because Kanye was “against us all.”
I, who tries to avoid Twitter moments as if they were a plague, hardly batted a lash. But the backlash toward non-pollster Kanye, after he said at a concert in San Jose in mid-November that he would’ve voted for Donald Trump, was unbreathable.
Did people forget about the Bill Cosby tweets, or did they even notice the similarities that Trump and West possess (exaggerated cocksureness, bluntness, outspokenness, a huge brand)?
In what was a brief concert, two nights later on Nov. 19, at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, West brought out rapper Kid Cudi, said Trump’s “method of communication” has been “very futuristic,” and said “f*** you” to radio.
I’m sure Kanye doesn’t want to be characterized as “just an artist,” just as he would want to have his opinion matter. A sudden detractor of Kanye should fess up to their own ignorance if they are truly jumping out of the Kanye West inflatable fun house.
One question: Why do people care about Kanye publicly disagreeing with their ideology. No matter what Kanye actually believes in, isn’t he entitled to do so?
Maybe, just maybe, celebrities shouldn’t speak for us. People tend to project their feelings onto celebrities since the latter have a dense secrecy to them. Intentions can never be fully understood with language barriers, but the semantical and syntax rules are for another argument.
I’m not saying that I’m against Kanye, but, if you are keen on perpetuating the Kanye prohibition, start getting him off the pedestal, deleting him from your musical storage, never attend a tour. It starts with the venues, the outlet stores, albums and singles, which then affect Kanye, and so forth.
Consumers have the intellectual power; famous people have the material power.
Kanye has influenced fashion, made the world more socially conscious, reinvented the music wheel, even when he has talked out of turn. One comment shouldn’t define a man. Did he say he was against anybody in particular? No. Was he honest about some of the prickly politics in the music industry?
In the concert, the self-described truth likened the moment to being a moment in the matrix – he’s the glitch. He mentioned two of the most poetic, and dense voices in hip-hop history, in KRS-One and DMX.
He felt the urge, and he proved to be right. Kanye can’t be discounted, compromised. Take this for example:
West’s first two albums defied preconceived notions of hip-hop, because Kanye rhymed about his family and his formative years, wearing pink polos and a backpack, as well as racial and socio-economic problems in America, among other things.
808s & Heartbreak, with the help of Kid Cudi, gave way to artists like Drake, A$AP Rocky, and more. The 808 drum had never been as prominent in music, nor had the advent of autotune. Yeezy’s outward vulnerability has always put him at the forefront, and I’m positive he wasn’t the first one to get a record deal in the early 2000s.
How many Nina Simone, King Crimson, James Brown records did you hear before Kanye sliced up some of those artists’ songs in his beats? Who else talked brash in a Hurricane Katrina telethon? Exactly.
I get why the Trump-laden comments threw people off, but Kanye has been incendiary and contradictory – mostly to his benefit. People should hold out if they believe it to be right, but don’t try to jump out of cold cement, if he winds up dropping prophetic wisdom.
Next time you’re at a party dancing to “Paranoid,” or rapping every lyric to “Power,” know that this man hasn’t abandoned you. Just because the windshield has bird poop or a dead beetle on it, doesn’t mean the rear view is obstructed.
If you hold Kanye accountable, hold yourself accountable also. This may be a gimmick, but nobody will know until many calendar pages flip.
(Note: Watch the full-length video of the performance from Sacramento.)