How many times does Kanye West have to tell you who he is?
Kanye West returned to Twitter on April 13, and not only was my timeline there immediately flooded with retweets of his musings, but they quickly spread to every other social media feed I have. Although you can count me in as a longtime fan of Kanye West the artiste, Kanye West the man has been maddening for several years, for a plethora of reasons. Yet, many seemed to quickly embrace the virtues of forgiveness and selective amnesia when it applied to him and his “Three two one, one two three, what the heck is bothering me?” tweets. I couldn’t relate.
Even worse, the stench of irony in some of Ye’s tweets was too hard to ignore.
So, one half of Watch the Throne, the spouse of the most famous Kardashian and the fashion designer with the impressively high price point for distressed-heavy couture suddenly has an issue with capitalism? The stylin’, profilin’, Aston Martin-riding, jet-flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin’-n’-dealin’ son of a gun is suddenly worried about capitalism’s impact on the masses? I mean, one could say he may have evolved, but I’m inserting a laugh track here all the same.
In theory, it’s good that Kanye West feels comfortable again engaging with the public, but I don’t understand why so many of y’all rushed to share his takes as if he wasn’t merely repurposing the same variations of “wisdom” that we’ve seen from him for nearly a decade on social media. One presumes it stems from a yearning for the man who we first met in the early aughts to return — that earnest, seemingly conscious dude in the pink polo who produced some of our favorite songs of that era, via classic albums like The College Dropout, Late Registration and Graduation.
However, that man is long gone and, if anything, Kanye has repeatedly shown himself to not be the person he once presented himself as. With his Saturday shoutout to the right’s black BFF, Candace Owens, he reminded us that he has a penchant for lodging his favorite pair of Yeezys right into his mouth. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. After all, are we forgetting his past sins?
For example, saying Tyga was smart to “get in early” by dating a minor who doubles as his sister-in-law? Or when he groveled so much for white approval that he reportedly gave his blessing to APC founder Jean Touitou, who chose to include the word “nigga” in a fall menswear presentation? There’s also that other racist he fancies, Vanessa Beecroft, a woman who has used blackface in her work and once declared it was “very stressful” to work with black women. And who can really forget the time he wrapped himself in Confederate battle flag imagery, claiming, “It’s my flag”?
I imagine some might bark back, “Who are you, bringing up old shit?” Well, Kanye West himself wants to talk about transparency. In keeping with that theme, remember when he said on Twitter that Bill Cosby is innocent? And of course, there was the time, months later, when he declared at a concert, “I told y’all I didn’t vote, right? But if I would’ve voted, I would’ve voted for Trump.”
Not long after that, in one of his most recent public appearances, he took a li’l visit to Trump Tower. What was the purpose of that? Well, the white supremacist and self-proclaimed pussy-grabber wanted as many high-profile co-signs as he could muster. Given Yeezy’s aforementioned pattern, it’s not surprising that he’d pay a visit to Trump at his den of doom (with blond hair, even), but it’s no less disappointing.
Sure, Kanye would later delete all of his pro-Trump tweets. But unless I missed something, this man never explained or apologized for supporting a racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic charlatan. Having said that, people literally imagined Taylor Swift to be a Trump supporter and basically demanded a denunciation from her. (Aside from that, I’m still debating whether or not to lean into my Creole lineage, gather up some chicken bones and figure out if I can conjure up a way to make Swift pay for that awful cover of “September.”) Meanwhile, Kanye West is an admitted deplorable and y’all are retweeting that bullshit as if nothing happened.
I knew Kanye wouldn’t take long to tell on himself again, but good on him for not wasting anyone’s time.
And that brings us back to this past weekend, when Kanye professed an affinity for conservative commentator Candace Owens, who shuns Black Lives Matter, makes transphobic statements and falls under a tradition of black people who are quickly elevated in the public space for lending their black faces to views typically held by your average racist, right-wing white guy.
Kanye could stand to watch The 13th rather than InfoWars, but I’m still tickled by the plot twist that, in the end, for all that talk about Kim Kardashian-West damaging Kanye’s brand, she’s the one tweeting about racism and women like Sandra Bland. Meanwhile, this dude is co-signing white supremacy’s new favorite black pet. There is not enough pining for “the old Kanye” in the world to get me to embrace someone that’s aligned himself with a white supremacist and is now touting a black woman who parrots the talking points of the so-called alt-right. Kanye is tying himself to the kind of folks who want to hurt the marginalized.
The reality is that this dude is Stacey Dash with bars, Ben Carson with a drum machine, Alan Keyes with a wider reach and Diamond and Silk with better taste. Come up with as many excuses as you want, but this is who he is and, arguably, it’s who he’s always been. In hindsight, there may have been a reason he cast Dash in the video for “All Falls Down.”
The question now is: What will it take for those holding out hope in vain to finally accept that?