Why I Stopped Listening to Kanye

I should have known better after seeing that photo of Donald Trump and Kanye West together in a hotel lobby than to think it was just a joke. After everything that has happened in the past few months, I feel let down by myself and my favorite artist.

Credit: medium.com

When I was seven years old, my brother would blast his music in his room at night. Through the walls, I heard Kanye’s new album “Graduation” play on repeat. Instantly, I became a fan. At the time, I knew that Kanye was talented and he saw the world differently. He became an inspiration to many at a young age, including me. I even defended him on the playground after the whole VMAs Taylor Swift debacle. I remember saying in his defense, “He had his reasons!! Don’t question it!”

My admiration for Kanye only grew and eventually, I had a chance to see him live for his 2016 Saint Pablo tour.  I got two general admission floor tickets and cried for literally two hours – Shoutout to Dave Maleh for those tickets! My dream of finally seeing my idol was coming true. The concert was everything I could have wanted and I truly felt honored to have seen Kanye live.

Credit: Dahlia Maleh 

From that show until April of this year, my life had remained without anything new from Kanye until he rejoined Twitter. Kanye back on Twitter always meant two things: crazy tweets and an album. Both of those happened to be very true this time around. 

Credit: Dahlia Maleh Instagram 

At first, his tweets were confusingly inspirational but then it all spiraled out of control. They started off as just, “To be great is to be misunderstood,” but then turned into pro-Trump rhetoric.

The same day as that tweet, the world got introduced to “The MAGA hat Kanye” and from that point on I never looked at my favorite rapper the same. I practically fell into the grieving process. Someone I had looked up to for so long was now a supporter of something I hated.

My friends thought it was all a joke, but I knew Kanye truly believed in everything he was saying. By the time his album “Ye” dropped in June, my excitement for new music basically vanished. I was truly nervous I was going to hear a verse about loving Trump or something similar. The joy and excitement Kanye and his music once gave me was so unique, and it was taken so fast and stomped on right in front of me.

I have always thought separating the art from the artist was not a responsible way to consume art. Problematic actions of an artist should rightfully taint the art and make it unenjoyable. Kanye’s actions are making many reconsider their stance on separating art from the artist.

Many people feel as if no one should listen to Kanye due to his new ignorant school of thought. They believe that supporting his music is in return supporting him and his ideology. There are also many who have developed selective hearing when it comes to Kanye. Meaning, they choose to ignore his comments and actions but continue to listen to his music. Finally, there are listeners who acknowledge how ludicrous he is acting but don’t hit the skip button for a song.

I am not one to say which one of those schools of thought are right. I would be lying if I said that I stopped listening to Kanye completely. It would also be a lie to say that I wasn’t extremely disappointed with his recent SNL performance. In my heart, I was hoping for a creative artistic performance that would give him some redemption points but I think I got the exact opposite. Instead, I got him dancing around like an oversized water bottle. It was upsetting, to say the least.

Credit: Saturday Night Live

I envy those who can listen to "Graduation" with no qualms. I envy those who speak about his recent work and leave out his problematic actions. I was once so passionate about this man and his work and now I have fallen silent. I don’t have the energy to debate or fight. I don’t have the energy to defend. I am just sad that something so precious got taken away from me.

Kanye just left Twitter this week and supposedly has an album coming out on my birthday, November 23. In all other years, that news would have made me the happiest girl alive, but now it just added insult to an injury.

 

I wonder if I’ll ever feel the same way I did hearing Kanye’s music through my bedroom walls…

 

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