Conversation about Kanye

Oct 10, 2013


Peep Kanye's full interview with Jimmy Kimmel here

Society tells Black people that they should be more polite and stop pulling the race card when faced with actual racism.

Society tells feminists/womanists that they should be more polite and stop overreacting in the face of patriarchy and misogyny.

Society tells poor people that they should be more polite and “pull themselves up from their bootstraps” in the face of economic inequality.

Society tells the gay community that they should be more polite and just “pray away” their same-sex attraction when faced with homophobia.

People deflect honest engagement with real issues, opting instead for respectability politics—I’ll treat you like a human being deserving of respect and common decency only after you act in a way that’s pleasing to me.  The responsibility is always placed on oppressed people to be more amicable, instead of on society to fix their heart and to be more equitable.  

Kanye is saying rather plainly in his “rants” something along the lines of “Despite my class privilege, there is still a cap or a ceiling put on my dreams and on what I can accomplish, that would not be placed on any White man in my position.”

And In a roundabout way, society keeps responding to Kanye like this:
You’re rich, despite being Black, shouldn’t you be satisfied? And because there are poor White people in America who actually deserve to be where you are, who are inherently entitled to the wealth and dreams that you have, you should just shut up and be grateful for what you have.

Why is that OK?

And riddle me this. When has Kanye been wrong?!
Was he wrong about Single Ladies, which crashed the internet and TV, playing second fiddle to a Taylor Swift video that I can’t even remember?
Was he wrong about George Bush’s lack of concern for the “least of these”?
Is his criticism about media framing of Black men, namely those in hip-hop off base?
Is his criticism about the racial homogeny in the fashion industry incorrect?

No. No. No. No. And, no. But he’s wrong in his delivery, which trumps the contents of his messages I presume?

I ain’t here to defend Ye’s “narcissism," nor do I think he is some social activist/prodigy. I really ain'eem a fan of his music, bruh. But when people are sharing their grief and anger and pain as a result of their lived experiences, who are we to say, “No. That is wrong.” I think a lot of what he's saying is important because it has far reaching implications for any Black woman or man who dreams, who wants to create, who wants to change things. Black creators and dreamers, ESPECIALLY women, have been stifled, silenced, and stolen from since the beginning of time, from celebrities all the way down to people I know and love.  And the world thinks things are better off if they just grin and bear it.  Sorry, but that does not compute.

Keep fighting the good fight, Ye.

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