The Teleology of Kanye West
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Kanye West has been drawing ire from everyone this year, including those in his own camp. He may even appear to be provoking outrage just for the sake of it. On April 25th, Kanye tweeted that Donald Trump was his “brother”, and that Obama did little to make Chicago safer. His wife, Kim Kardashian, would later clarify that Kanye likes Trump but doesn’t agree with Trump’s politics. Then, six days later, Kanye claimed that slavery was a choice on Power 105.1. When he repeated this on TMZ, one of their reporters shot down his argument; Kanye could be seen pouting as this happened. On June 1st, Kanye released his eighth studio album Ye, which featured lyrics that sympathized with those accused of sexual harassment as well as lyrics where he tells his less-than-a-year old daughter to cover herself so that she doesn’t get catcalled. Later that month, in an interview with The New York Times, Kanye revealed he stopped taking his medication for his bipolar diagnosis, doubled down on his belief that slavery was a choice, and praised Donald Trump’s “dragon energy”.
But the crazy didn’t stop there. On August 11th, Kanye West dropped “XTCY”, a song with lyrics about wanting to have sex with his step sisters. On September 27th, Kanye tweeted that he supports A$AP Bari, who was accused & charged with sexual assault. Three days later, Kanye West made an appearance on SNL. At the end of the episode, Kanye gave a speech where he said racism isn’t a problem in America that resulted in many cast members walking off stage. To top this all off, Kanye stopped by the oval office and delivered a monologue in which he praised the president’s masculine energy, stated he wanted to get rid of the 13th amendment, and argued that black people should vote Republican. Even Trump appeared dumbfounded.
While this behavior may appear irrational, it follows two main tenets. Kanye likes the idea that a celebrity with no political experience can become president. Thus, by supporting and normalizing Donald Trump’s presidency, Kanye West is attempting to normalize celebrity presidents so that he can have a chance of winning when he runs for president. In addition to this, Kanye (still) doesn’t respect women. This year, Kanye has expressed support for fashion designer A$AP Bari, comedian Louis C.K., and New York mumble rapper 6ix9ine. He could have chosen a lot of weird, problematic media personalities to support. But the common denominator is that they all have been accused of sexual assault. While he claimed his support was a way of protesting “cancel culture”, this protest is also self-serving as Kanye has been considered “cancelled” many times in recent years.
But here’s the thing. When you endorse somebody, you endorse everything about them. You endorse their words, their beliefs, and their actions. Kanye has said that he disapproves of Trump’s muslim ban, but when Kanye supports Trump, he supports the muslim ban. Moreover, when you endorse someone like A$AP Bari or work with a rapper like 6ix9ine, you endorse the act of sexual assault. This endorsement leads to normalizing problematic behaviors. Endorsing someone doesn’t mean you like them; it shows that you believe they are a model human being. So, whether he is aware of this or not, Kanye has been helping to normalize sexual abuse.
This has clearly gone too far. Normally, Kanye West says something controversial, and then is forgiven by the culture because his first five albums are considered untouchable. But Kanye’s behavior has alienated people close to him including long-time collaborators T.I., Chris Rock, and his own wife. And while Kanye has distanced himself from politics and has delayed the release of his next album Yahndi to remove pro-trump lyrics, I’m personally skeptical that Kanye West learned anything from this.comments powered by Disqus