Kanye West Doesn’t Owe You Anything
Words by Alexander Kamczyc
This week, Kanye West ruffled a few feathers when he endorsed Donald Trump in a series of tweets aimed to challenge the way people think. In one tweet, he posts a photo of a signed “Make America Great Again” hat; in another, he called Trump his “brother.”
The week before, Kanye praised Candace Owens, a black conservative and communications director of Turning Point USA. You remember them, the people who protested safe spaces by wearing diapers in front of the M.A.C. Center?
All of this has drawn countless criticisms and praise from people on both sides. It can hurt when someone who’s been there with us through a lot of tough times turns out to be something you didn’t think he’d be. I mean, this is the guy that said on live television that Bush didn’t care about black people. While I understand the hurt some people feel right now, it’s important to understand one thing:
Kanye West doesn’t owe you anything.
None of this is new. Kanye had already announced he would have voted for Trump back during the election if he could. To an entire audience. On a floating stage. With blonde hair. Which, in my opinion, is a lot odder than him just sending this stuff out in a series of tweets.
Outside of his public life, West has views and opinions on how the government and the community should function. He’s also allowed to voice those views or opinions on his platform regardless of how unpopular they may be. It’s his right to do so as a user of Twitter and an American citizen.
Regardless about how you feel about something, your way of thinking isn’t always the right way. You’re allowed to think or feel that, but that means West is also allowed to think his way of thinking is the right way. The conversation should always be 50/50.
A free exchange of ideas.
I will say, though, when you endorse people like Trump and Owens, you also endorse the negative things that come with them. Owens started gaining traction on YouTube when she started posting videos telling Black Lives Matter supporters they weren’t oppressed. Trump, of course, is a controversial figure in his own right; he refused to rent to people of color in the ‘90s and took out an ad in 1989 against the Central Park Five, five men who were wrongfully accused and then rightfully acquitted for a rape they didn’t commit.
I also will say that Kanye West does still have a power from his platform that I don’t think he really understands he has, which is odd. When you’re in a position like his, some people do hang on your word. Sometimes that can take a turn for the worse and do more harm than good. There are effects to what he says, consequences to it.
He’s not free from that.
As much as it pains me to say it, Kanye West can support these people because it’s his own choice to do so. We don’t have the right to make him think any which way about something just because we disagree with it. I can’t say I’m happy with his stance on things right now either, as I grew up listening to him religiously.
However, you can still love an artist even though his viewpoint may seem out of whack with yours. He’s a human being just like everyone else. He shouldn’t be chalked up as one thing, when in many cases, we are several things at one time. It’s not fair to throw him to whatever back burner you think you’re throwing him to with your hot takes on Twitter.
You may not always like what you see or hear on social media. A lot of it may anger you or make you feel unsteady for a few minutes. I’ve had my day ruined a few times because of things I’ve seen on Twitter before. It’s OK. But it’s important that you see it anyway, because whether you like it or not, it adds to the conversation.
He isn’t the first rapper to voice support for the controversial president, albeit he is the most influential, and he won’t be the last. I would even go so far as to say there are other rappers just as famous that secretly support Trump too.
So for those of you who have reacted so poorly to what has happened this week: It is not the end of the world that Kanye West likes Donald Trump. The world will keep turning, the sun will keep rising, the birds still chirping. You have gotten through much worse than this. There will be other things that happen that are way worse or way better than this in the future. Life fluctuates.
It’s important to remember that.