Source: Kevin Mazur / Getty
Kanye West did it again and we all fell for it.
And we’re at the point now where we can’t blame Yeezy. We can only blame ourselves for allowing him a platform that he doesn’t deserve due to how he desecrated a community and betrayed a culture.
Sounds a little heavy, right? Well, it should.
The relationship between Kanye and his fans is an abusive one where the abused continues to defend their abuser with absurd undying love despite evidence proving that it isn’t reciprocal.
This isn’t about the quality of his music. That’s subjective. This is more about what he’s done outside of his artistry over the past several years that has driven a wedge between the Hip-Hop community.
No, not the fans of Pop music.
The relationship between Kanye and his fans is an abusive one where the abused continues to defend their abuser with absurd undying love despite evidence proving that it isn’t reciprocal.Share
This is about the ones who have followed Kanye’s career from his early Roc-A-Fella production to his ability to bridge the gap between the mainstream and the underground. The ones who openly rooted for him to succeed and change the course of Hip-Hop in the early 2000s by seamlessly shifting between working with Jay-Z to Common. The ones who don’t treat Hip-Hop as music, but as a culture. A voice for the voiceless that emanated from inner-city youth and opened a window into the disregarded plight of minorities in America. He was our Hip-Hop hero because of what he meant to us. It felt like he was preserving the sanctity of Hip-Hop. Until he wasn’t.
That’s what this is about. Not the hypebeasts. Although they have become some of his most ardent supporters despite Kanye’s delusions of grandeur that have been weaponized against the community he supposedly represents.
How did we get here again?
West announced a new album during Game 6 of the NBA Finals with a Beats By Dre commercial starring track star Sha’Carri Richardson that featured the song “No Child Left Behind.” A release date of July 23 soon followed for DONDA along with a listening event at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta that would be livestreamed globally via Apple.
The announcement sent shockwaves through social media as West continues to be one of the most perplexing and polarizing celebrities in the world. There were those who celebrated the return of The Louis Vuitton Don and disregarded his actions that have left many of us slack-jawed. And then there are those (this writer included) who simply cannot forgive Kanye for his dangerous actions over the past several years. Not without an apology or explanation, at least.
West told us that slavery was a choice, chummed it up with the “free-thinking” race-traitor Candace Owens, made a MAGA hat with an occasional confederate flag a part of his wardrobe, and got behind a president who has routinely demonstrated his xenophobia, sexism, and racism at a time when racial turmoil in this country was at a fever pitch.
Just for a moment, let’s forget the concept of “cancel culture” because it’s not real and West is clearly not going to be canceled no matter what he does or says outside of physically killing somebody. Even then, there’d be those who support him. However, if we analyze the ideology behind cancel culture, it’s baffling that he’s made it this far without some sort of widespread backlash.
It’s so much easier to “cancel” someone you already didn’t like. Honestly, most are just looking for an excuse to join the mob of disgust because they take joy in trying to get rid of somebody. However, the real challenge is when the person who has earned a “canceling” makes something you like. What do you do then?
And don’t try to suggest separating the art from the artist because that, my friends, is bullsh*t. Many of us grew up on Robert Sylvester Kelly’s music but the moment we realized that “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” and “Seems Like You’re Ready” weren’t just songs, many of us decided that the art and the artist were one and the same and made the decision to cut the man off.
Obviously, what West has done in recent years isn’t nearly as heinous as having sex with underage girls, but his actions in recent years wouldn’t allow him to be embraced as he has.
To put it in perspective, Eldridge Cleaver is the author of the phenomenal 1968 collection of essays titled Soul on Ice. A prominent member of the Black Panther Party, Cleaver’s early work as the Party’s Minister of Information cannot be denied. However, the man who once wrote, “If a man like Malcolm X could change and repudiate racism, if I myself and other former Muslims can change, if young whites can change, then there is hope for America,” made a drastic shift in his ideals that soiled his image with the community.
Cleaver’s early work could not be denied but when he returned from exile and aligned himself as a conservative Republican in the early 1980s, the community that once supported him had to sever ties.
You can call it “canceled” if you want to. But it’s more of the community saying, “We don’t f*ck with you no more.”
West is currently in his 1980s Eldridge Cleaver form.
We recognize the man, but we no longer recognize his actions. Even though he continues to show us his hand and exactly how he’s going to play it.
If this wasn’t your favorite artist, would you offer the same amount of leniency as many of you have with West?
Let’s just say this was Eminem who supported Trump and told us that slavery was a choice. Since so many of us have fallen out of love with the Detroit artist’s music over the years, it’s easy to “cancel” him because no matter how much he’s done for Hip-Hop we still recognize him as a white man in Black culture. He isn’t one of “us” so he’s easy to ostracize, right?
But what about the wolves in sheep’s clothing? You know, the Jason Whitlocks and Candace Owens of the world? How dangerous are those individuals who gleefully allow themselves to be weaponized against us because of the color of their (own) skin?
Extraordinarily dangerous. Remember that some of the most powerful individuals in the civil rights movement were taken down with the help of someone who looked like them.
Judas and The Black Messiah. But Judas has to get close to be effective.
Fortunately, most of us have been able to ignore the likes of Whitlock and Owens. But Kanye? He’s still able to get our attention regardless of his ability to hold on to ideals that would have seen him “canceled” if he was essentially anybody but West.
Source: The Washington Post / Getty
And there he was on Thursday evening in a city recognized as one of the epicenters of Blackness in America with a stadium full of people eagerly awaiting to hear his next album. The audacity of a man who proudly supported Trump’s ideals to hold a listening party less than two miles away from the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and a mile away from the Atlanta University Center Consortium.
It was a bold move but that didn’t deter the crowd from paying $20 to $100 per person to fill the stadium up and then wait nearly two hours for Kanye to appear while the capitalistic onslaught of absurdly priced food and a long-sleeved shirt with a Donda West childhood photo sold for $120. Some 48 minutes after he finally showed up, he was gone. He never said a word. He didn’t perform as much as he did grace the world with his presence as those in attendance and everyone watching on the livestream waited for something.
Instead, he roamed the stadium grounds as the music loudly blasted from the arena’s sound system. If you were waiting for some sort of an explanation, you weren’t getting one. As the virtual praise session ended, the voice of Jay-Z could be heard on the final song.
HOV did the verse today!!!! At 4pm
— Young Guru (@Young_Guru) July 23, 2021
“I told him to stop all that red cap, we going home,” Jay rapped. Social media was on fire. The brothers were back together! It’s time to Watch the Throne again, right? But, according to Young Guru, the verse was recorded only a few hours before it was played in the stadium. Did Kanye have time to discuss those bars with Jay? Would he?
No matter because the announced release date of DONDA came and went without the album hitting streaming platforms.
And then media personality Justin Laboy hopped on Twitter to tell us that the album wasn’t done, and the release date was pushed back to August 6. Now, he’s allegedly moved into the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to finish the project.
He got us again.
West leveraged the urgency of his fans to create a buzz for an album that he had no intention of releasing on the announced date. We’ve been here before with The Life of Pablo, Jesus is King, and the series of albums from the Wyoming Sessions. He pulls the rug from under his fans without consequence or repercussion. Why? Because we allow him to.
Who knows if that Jay-Z verse will make the final cut? How different will the album be if it actually drops on August 6? Nobody knows. But what West knows is that he can do and say virtually anything to the Cult of Kanye and they will never turn their back on him.
If you choose to support Kanye, it’s a choice. Defending him like he was a family member on social media is also a choice. Do what you will. But, please, refrain from participating in the culture of cancelation because the hypocrisy is transparent.
Don’t police other cultures and communities on racial sensitivity, exploitation, and the “-isms” if you are unwilling to police your own.Share
Candace Owens could have the most beautiful singing voice in the world, but you know who won’t be supporting her? Because supporting her means lining her pockets to spew her hateful rhetoric and offering her a platform that she doesn’t deserve.
If you wouldn’t support that “free thinker” maybe you shouldn’t support the other.
Source: Kevin Mazur / Getty