April 25th, 2018. The closest we’ve come to if not a full-blown apocalypse, then surely the collapse of Western Society. Of course, I am talking about the bizarre “stream of consciousness” in tweet-form from none other than Kanye West.
I’ll state here, for the record, that I am a Kanye sympathizer, and no one will ever convince me he isn’t a genius in his own narcissistic and sometimes frankly troubling way in his music, fashion and even how we (perhaps I) think. I do believe he possesses a great mind — a vivid sort of off-vision that translates in to something half-brilliant and half-wtf. He rather looks at the box upside down, rather than thinking outside of it. This being said, he should be up for scrutiny, as he often is, just as much as anyone else.
For many years, he has polarized people with his actions, his marriage to the reality star and media mogul Kim Kardashian, his many interviews — during which he flies off the handle like an out of control toddler — and of course his vast discography, some of which appears in lists of the most renowned music in the world.
So when the star takes to Twitter, as he has done many times before, the outcome can often be as polarizing as the man himself.
And as for Kanye supporters, we’re often left to justify his actions, crowing that “you just DON’T get his art” or “he’s actually really an intellectual.” If you don’t get Kanye now, I don’t think you ever will.
So, April 25th. A series of tweets were posted on Kanye West’s Twitter account — of him coming out in support of Donald Trump, also mentioning how he is the highest-earning man in footwear.
He also tweeted at People magazine stating that they should “watch themselves,” but also that they would “love some Yeezys.” So yes, all very strange and seemingly unprovoked. Obviously, people were up in arms that he came out in public support of Trump, but to preface this, I will say that Kanye had declared his admiration and support for Trump beforehand in a rather strange and very public meeting inside Trump Tower. That being said, the tweets were no less inflammatory and inevitably blew up Twitter.
One tweet read:
“You don’t have to agree with Trump, but the mob can’t make me not love him; we are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.”
The Mob — interesting use of language. I assume he was referring to people who are anti-Trump, in which case ostracizing them as “The Mob” surely means he doesn’t align himself with people who are against the president, which arguably can put him on the right side of politics and the wrong side of pop culture, where he usually sits comfortably. “The Mob” also refers to them in a sort of throwaway manner, as if they act with violence in a gang or group without nuance or difference. I doubt Kanye West is as interested in semiotics, as I am — I just thought his choice of words was interesting and revealing, and he clearly drew lines between himself and the current left.
He goes on, stating that he is a free-thinker, he is not a democrat nor republican and that we should “move in love, not fear.” Now, I’m a left-thinking person; I believe in government, and I believe in people — but I also believe in democracy and choice.
And I *think* perhaps Kanye got down to the root of the tribalistic or “mob”-like qualities we have in politics right now.
Because on the left, if you’re not left, you’re wrong; and on the right, if you’re not right, you’re wrong; and unfortunately this is why we ended up with someone who has higher TV ratings than public approval as the president.
Oh Kanye, for all the anger, and often confusion, you cause, you always find a way to be brilliant. Even if you don’t intend it. In a few tweets, a rapper and fashion designer can sum up best what we need now in politics now more than ever.
Move in love, not fear. Be a free-thinker.
I’m not saying we don’t need activists, voices, arguments and debate. I’m saying in the future, move in love, not fear. Even when there are things to be feared in the current political office, which there are. Be a free-thinker, even disagreeing with your own side. It’s fine, we have our own minds that are ours to explore and change and reframe our opinions.
Whilst writing this piece, I was reminded of a speech that I think is quite prescient in the current political climate, given by Edith Sampson in May 1965. (Edith Sampson was an American lawyer and judge, and the first Black U.S. delegate appointed to the United Nations.)
I urge you all to read and realize, that we — as well as Kanye West — are way more fallible, yet way stronger, and have so much more power than a few tweets, whoever writes them.
Cover Photo Courtesy of Billboard.