The ultimate hip-hop troll has revealed himself yet again. The man who once said 'George Bush doesn't care about black people' is showing us all he don't really give a damn either. During the San Jose stop of his Saint Pablo Tour, Kanye West told the audience that he did not vote, but would have voted for Donald Trump if he did.
In true celebrity villain fashion, he ate it up as consternation and disdain rained down from the Internet blog sites and social media. According to the San Jose Mercury, West's statement drew boos and audience members hurled items onstage in protest.
One thing you could count on from most '90s rappers is a worldview that ran counter to the mainstream. But those days are long gone. "I hate the fact that because I'm a celebrity, everybody told me not to say that I loved the debates. I loved his approach," the rapper said. Much of his reported 25-minute diatribe was "specifically for black people."
"Stop focusing on racism," he urged. "This world is racist, OK? Let's stop being distracted to focus on that so much. It's just a ... fact. We are a racist country, period. Do not allow people to make us talk about that so ... long. ... It's a racist ... country. And not one or the other candidate was going to instantly be able to change that because of their views."
"Sometimes things you might think are bad have to happen in order for change to ... happen," he said. "Sometimes you might have to not get your way to really understand what to do in the future to be able to get your way."
Indeed, sometimes you have to let things marinate in order to figure out the next move. On that note, one cannot refute West's statements. However, when it comes to racism, part of the problem is people aren't willing to discuss it enough. It's hard to do because there are massive numbers of individuals who believe the America of 3/5 of a man, of the 13th Amendment and of the gutted Voter Rights Act is somehow more inline with democratic thought than the tenet that states all men are equal.
For West, awash in monies from a career as an internationally acclaimed superstar, the daily markers of racism are missing. No daily micro-aggression in the workplace or marketplace, no forced segregation by way of discrimination, no random stop-and-frisk actions and no shadowing from store employees while shopping. It's all about perspective and, unless you're a black millionaire who married into a billionaire family, none of his views are apropos to you or I.
Kanye loves Donald Trump's wild and outrageous commentary and bullying diatribes because he can relate to a man who has created a persona that goes counter what he believed to be the status quo. But with all these ultra right wing conservatives (i.e. racists) being vetted for Trump's cabinet, Kanye better not go broke no time soon. As is often the case for many, Kayne's worldview has devolved as his bank account grew larger.
They say a truly wise man is one who has the flexibility to change his viewpoint when given new information, but there is no new information that leads to believe racism can somehow be "ignored" into changing. The only thing that has changed is West's willingness to inspire Black folks with his music and his words. He has become the latest rapper, joining Lil' Wayne, to publicly doubt the voracity of contemporary racism.
Yet another reason why change needs to come from the ground up because nothing trickles down, not even compassion and understanding for individuals you once shared similar economic concerns with. Yet another indication that entertainers should not be looked upon as leaders for the simple fact that with success comes apathy and even betrayal of the values they once upheld on wax.