Turning Ye Off

Kanye West

Kanye West

By Free Radical

On Friday, Kanye West released his eighth solo album, entitled simply Ye. The rollout was as enigmatic as he is. In April, he announced that he would drop it along with a slew of other projects on his G.O.O.D. Music imprint. Since then, Kanye has made a number of questionable moves that forces us to wonder, as we have done plenty of times before, if he is a mad scientist or just mad. Is he a political buccoon or has he hatched an ingenious plan that will all be revealed on his new album.

For the first time ever,  I won’t be around to find out.

I’m not buying, streaming, or supporting the new album or the man himself for the foreseeable future. And this pains me greatly. I’ve listened to every Kanye album since the (better) bootleg version of his College Dropout debut was released. And there have been missteps before, such as that dumb ass confederate flag jacket he used to wear. But other rappers who I rock with, such as Andre 3000 have done this stupid shit before, and I’ve been able to chalk it up to them failing miserably at being provocative. But Ye’s actions are unforgivable. They are politically immature. They are dangerous.

To recap, 1) In November 2016, West told an audience at one of his concert in California that had he voted in the last presidential election, he would have chosen Donald trump. 2) He met with Trump the following month to discuss what he called “multicultural issues.” 3) In May 2018, while on TMZ, he revealed his belief that slavery was a choice. 4) Later that month there was the Donda’s House debacle. Rhymefest, a fellow Chicago rapper who was also creative director of charity founded by Kanye and named after his late mother, accused Yeezy of abandoning the organization and saying “Fuck the youth of Chicago.” 5) Even on the very week of Kanye’s album release, his wife, Kim Kardashian, controversially met with Donald Trump to discuss criminal justice reform.

Now there is nothing wrong with Kardashian’s curious concern over this very important issue. However, Trump has a history of inviting very high profile people of color (or their spouses) to address issues that affect their communities rather than seeking experts on the subjects. Figures like Kim Kardashian, Steve Harvey, Ray Lewis, or even Kanye himself get very little in return but a photo op which actually benefits Trump even more and allows him to appear more sympathetic to people of color when we all know he is not.

However, Kanye, forever whimsical, seems to be ignorant of this and he can literally afford to. He knows that there is a sizable number of people, even with all of his theatrics, that will still listen to his album. In fact, he may get some new fans from the alt-right, who like Trump, love “free thinking” Negroes as long as they don’t challenge the white supremacist status quo.

So with that said, on some levels I can support Kanye’s advocacy of “free thought.” As I, and many other Black folks choose to deny him patronage, I hope he is equally enthusiastic in his support of our “free choices.”

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