Kanye West, rapper, songwriter, and fashion designer is a true icon of our generation. His career is most notably known for his music, full of soulful samples, realism, and outstandish lyrics. Kanye West grew to popularity because of his unique character. In every field he enters, he stands out, and is thus respected and idolized. Not only is Kanye’s character unique, but his personality is bold as well. Due to this he has become one of the most respected rappers in history, as well as a voice for the black community, and the rap game as a whole. However, Kanye’s outspoken nature, while respected, forces him to be criticized by the media and the general public.
In mid-April, Kanye West broke the internet by returning to Twitter for the first time since spring of 2017. Avid Twitter users note Kanye’s inconsistency with social media. His disappearances and tweet storms are almost cyclical in nature. You know when Kanye West disappears he is cooking something up and as soon as he comes back he lays it out and he goes hard. This coincides with what one can observe as mental breaks and promotional strategies. Kanye knows how to work the media and his brand to his advantage.
Upon tweeting motivational quotes, yeezy sneak peaks, mood boards, and his upcoming album release dates, Kanye tweeted about the respect he has for Donald Trump. This, not surprisingly, caused an uproar in every sense of media. Fans were going off in response, celebrity friends were like Chance The Rapper and John Legend were coming in peace in attempts to have Kanye reevaluate his posts, even his wife Kim Kardashian had her two cents to put in on how she does not agree with her husband’s decision. The tweets centered around Donald Trump immediately followed a countless amount of tweets focusing on love. Love has been one of Kanye’s main focal points within in his tweet storms, thus being the underlying reason of him stating how he “love[s] everyone”, including Trump.
Despite what most people want to hear, there are reasons to understand Kanye’s respect for Trump. Kanye has and will always be an outspoken individual and a free thinker, like Trump. Therefore, it is easy to see the basis for whatever bond they may share. While Kanye stated he does not claim a political party, it would be logical for him to be a Republican, as that is the norm for the tax bracket he is in.
While I understand these aspects, I do not understand Kanye’s support for Trump as a politician. Almost every single one of his albums have aspects focusing on issues in impoverished communities, especially within the black community. In 2005 Kanye was involved in a live national red cross fundraising program for Hurricane Katrina. This is most notably one of the highlighted moments of his career as he openly stated “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” This moment, like his music, has highlighted his endless support for the people, yet 13 years later he is advocating for Trump- a man who is openly racist, sexist, homophobic,xenophobic, etc.
Another big aspect of this tweet storm was Kanye West, a Chicago native himself, calling out President Barack Obama on what he has done for Chicago. Also being a Chicagoan, I sat and thought, what has Kanye done for Chicago lately? Despite all the admiration and respect we give him, all we get is a “south south south side” on every other track, a yeezy pop up shop in the suburbs, a few collaborations with Chance The Rapper, and his daughter being named after our city…If Obama’s term changed “nothing” in Chicago what will Trump’s presidency do? What will Kanye do to promote the love that he is tweeting about in Chicago? Chicago makes up some of Kanye’s biggest, long time supporters. With that being said, we provide him with the most dedication, despite his lack of action for our communities. This has fueled the hot seat Kanye is under, as now he has not only openly supported Trump, but dissed Obama’s presidency as well.
While Kanye West has explained he does not support Trump fully, actions speak louder than words. Supporting Trump’s “dragon energy” is different than supporting Trump’s political agenda. Once Kanye threw on a signed Make America Great Again hat he displayed support of Trump’s politics. He has now thrown himself into being a pawn Trump can use and has already used to gain the support he may have lacked before. This act by Kanye West has made many of his supporters question who he is and what he really stands for at this point in his life. Many people want their idolized celebrities to do more than display a talent, they want to see them use their platforms for action. Seeing Kanye take this downward slope in progressivism is not only disappointing but saddening. In the Trump Era, marginalized communities need as much support as they can get and it has been made clear that Kanye West is presently not that.