Kanye West made headlines on Saturday, September 20th after appearing on Saturday Night Live. Kanye was initially on the show as the musical guest of the week. However, at the end of the show Kanye delivered a speech off air about his support for President Trump, his ideas on “Hate vs Love” and Racism. Although many viewers at home didn’t see the rant take place live, audience members and cast members who did, recorded snippets of the rant. Fashion Creative Director, Brett Sanders, who was invited backstage, posted his recording of the full rant on facebook, which quickly circulated around social media and news outlets. Kanye’s speech did go off on multiple tangents. However, there was a comment that Kanye stated that did make heads turn in confusion and anger. West stated:
“There’s so many times I talk to a white person and they say ‘How could you like Trump and he’s racist?’ well, uh if I was concerned about racism I would’ve moved out of America a long time ago. We don’t make our decisions based off of racism.”
There are a lot of people who have grown up with Kanye West who are strongly influenced by him. It’s confusing and disappointing to see that the same man who has who used to write lyrics about growing up in a place full of discrimination and violence towards black people, who used to advocate for the black youth of Chicago, and would cut interviewers off to say, “Bush doesn’t care about Black people,” is now stating that he doesn’t care about racism. And to say that “we don’t make our decisions based off of racism” is a very irresponsible statement. It completely ignores such a huge part of this country’s history that has created the society and issues we are facing now.
This isn’t Kanye’s first public rant and it probably won’t be his last, but it is something that we need to address in a serious light. Since Donald Trump has been in office, Kanye has said many controversial comments in regards to the relationship between race and politics. All of which writes black history off as a self deprecating factor that the black community put onto themselves. In May of 2018, Kanye said in an interview with TMZ that he thought slavery was a choice. A couple months after that incident, in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Kanye addressed the comment made on TMZ and said that when his mental illness (Bipolar) affects him it changes how he responds to certain situations. He stated:
“For this interview I knew I wanted to be in this calm state. Because by the time I got to TMZ I was ramped up. So what was awesome was the world got to really experience someone in a ramped up state. That’s when you get these comments that just shoot out almost like tourrettes. There are some cases where people go low, Im one of those that go high.”
Mental Health should always be taken seriously. However, it also brings up the question of how much of his mental health is causing him to say rash comments without thinking of the repercussions. Whatever your opinion may be mental illness or not, we can’t let that excuse the irresponsibility and ignorance of certain comments that he makes, as they can still be extremely harmful towards certain groups or stigmas of today’s society. And even though Kanye has no position in office to make any legal decisions, his voice is still very powerful. The things he says and promotes are not only going to be heard by people all over the world, but those as well who are in a political place to make decisions. We’ve already witnessed how Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian was able to help pardon a woman in jail just by having a meeting with President Trump, and just recently Kanye held a meeting with Trump at the Oval office. So who knows how Kanye’s comments might influence future policies.