1st I found out his album title and laughed to myself.
2nd I saw him retitle it a million times.
3rd I read about his squabble with Wiz.
4th I read him stupidly drag his ex and her child into his dumb beef.
5th: fingers in the booty.
6th I saw them settle it.
7th Kanye faded from my brain.
8th his real album dropped under its real title which I also laughed at.
9th I read some lyrics before I had the chance to listen to the album and had a HOT TAKE but decided I’d give the album a listen. I have to to know the full context of what I’m criticizing. I’m super NOT into male invocation of the b-word, or the assumption of men that women even ‘might’ want to sex them.
“I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that bitch famous.”
See? It’s problematic, but I do not think it operates on the same frequency as something like “Blurred Lines.” It’s a bad joke, and I think intended to be outrageous and provocative to the folks who will without fail vilify him.
10th I read a hot take on his album from a random person I went to college with. On Facebook. (Bc we now consume each other’s media and all have ambient awareness of folks’ thoughts.) I think she basically wrote Kanye West off as a buffoon with crappy loud music and a shitty fashion line. By all means. Valid opinion. It was a smart person who generally shares decent and considerate insight on social issues. This person is also someone that I am certain is not as well versed in hip hop, or the complex politics of being black under the 24/7 eyeball of constant media. This is also a white person. As I read the comments (damn it I’m curious) I detected a vague “Oh Heavens to Murgatroy. It’s that dreaded talentless Kanye West fool again with his loud music and his tacky wife and his most lamentable child…etc” kind of attitude. Also all of these people were white. Steven Crane’s The Monster came to mind as I was reading. Something about this vilification seems… Problematic.
It’s almost too easy to hate Kanye.
11th then I read a hot take from Ruby Rose this morning that spurred me to write this meditation on Kanye.
Too many lines crossed. If I put myself in the shoes of the women he has hurt recently. Victims of Bill Cosby*, The Slut shaming, Amber…
And now my dear friend Taylor.. Right before another huge moment for her.. Can I still support him and call myself a feminist? A friend? No.
I think this is righteous… But there’s… Still something making me want to turn my head.
Not sure if I can really say I have an issue with this specific comment. She’s right. But more with how we as a culture receive this remark. How do we look at this remark about Kanye and how do we consume and metabolize this idea. How does it shape our thoughts on Kanye. How do thoughts/feelings on Kanye shape our construction of rap and hip-hop. How do our feelings and assumptions about this art form, then shape the way that we see black men. What tableau is being displayed to us? Do people think that black men are sexist? That hip hop is? Are we threatening? How is this narrative being fed? Is Kanye the media’s King Kong and Taylor Swift, it’s Fay Wray? And why? I do feel as though Kanye is a nexus point for things we really need to be talking about. Not just what we see but why and how we see it.
12th Personally I think folks are quick on the impulse to drag Kanye West for being outspoken. I can’t wait for an avalanche of thinkpieces about what he said about Taylor Swift. Do I think it’s ‘artistic’ to call a woman a b-word?
No. No it’s not. Never has been. We all can do better. I’m not about banning words now, but even in jest, I think we’ve been holding women under the water with the b-word for a long time. But I digress.
The culture does not hold Eminem to the same standard. Sure here and there we get criticism, but there’s no real backlash. The media is not not as quick to spit in his face, when it should. When he raps about his general homophobia, or beating his ex wife, we still talk about him like an artist. (A transgressive archeologist of rage and pain. A white rapper from a black part of town. His journey has been immortalized in the mythical “8 Mile.” Or as I call it, Rocky with Freestyle rap. Seriously it’s fucking Rocky.)
And what about the easy to digest (for white audiences), Childish Gambino whose lyrics are often glazed with problems ranging from internalized racism to homophobia to a strange Asian fetish to classic misogyny? Do we like him because the audience he openly panders to is safer? (This isn’t to say that Kanye doesn’t). Rolling Stones? John Lennon? Guns N’ Roses? Fuck it what about movies? How about Woody Allen? We all still love him right?
Where is the backlash now with all of these guys? We got an attic problem. A problem attic. A problematic problem attic. A problem emblematic of attacks in in problematic attics.
To sum this rant up, I think Kanye West is an asshole, but I think he also ends up a lil more visible on most folks’ radars because of aversive racism. While it isn’t overt, it operates on a subconscious level and it carves out a safe space for some folks to express and feel their diet-racism.
It’s not deep dish, delivery racism. It’s thin crust, DiGiorno racism.
Racism with a silencer.
“Ugh, it’s that Kanye and his wife.”
“Black man loud and black rich and loud black about being black black black negro niggernigger coon money coon and rich black black sex black and married to non-black woman fuck cock butts black coon I don’t like I black don’t like hate hate negro hate I have black friends hate.”
I get that we can’t be outraged at every thing that everyone says, because that would provide very little to like in the world. I also get that disliking Kanye doesn’t automatically make you racist. I’m just asking that if we hate him, we hate him not for the color of his skin, but the content of his character. The way MLK wanted.
*13th… Wait… Did he really say that? **Checks Twitter**. Never mind this whole article. That nigga dumb AF.