Unless you’ve been living in a cave with no Wi-Fi for the past week, you know that Kanye’s return to Twitter has been a piping hot mess. Since Kanye tweeted his support for Fox News pundit Candace Owens and doubled down on his admiration of Donald Trump, the conversation surrounding Kanye West has taken a turn. He’s lost followers, he’s alienated one-time die-hard fans (including me) and caused some of his most famous allies to unfollow him. Things are rapidly falling apart. So, what happens next?
First, let’s address the proverbial elephant in the room when it comes to Kanye. The conversations about Kanye have also turned to his mental health. My previous posts have mentioned Kanye's mental health out of sensitivity to whatever he may or may not have been going through. Plus, the timing of his last public "breakdown" coincided with his last declaration of support for Klan President – but equating Kanye West's mental health to his allegiance to Donald Trump is unfair to all the people living with mental illnesses who don't also support a noted racist and active bigot. And now, Kanye West really wants us to know that he is a free thinker who thinks for himself. His wife Kim wants us to be careful with the language we use surrounding Kanye and mental health.
Here is the very careful language I will use to describe Kanye West: He is a singular, deeply problematic figure who may or may not suffer from paranoia, depression and anxiety but also? He's just a dumbass. He keeps showing his ass. I've admitted repeatedly that my nostalgic connection to Kanye’s music and my inner fangirl have clouded my judgment when it comes to Kanye. Maybe that makes ME a dumbass. Maybe I've given him too many chances – chances that a black female artist in the same position would never get. As a black woman, however, I believe I am predisposed to wanting to uplift black men. This black man in particular has been subjected to an onslaught of racist backlash and personal tragedy that made me instinctively want to defend him. I think it’s why many people, including the Hollywood music elite, have kept rooting for him. But right now, Kanye West is not worth defending. There is no reason that can explain away his repeated ignorance, except for the fact that he doesn't read books.
Very Smart Brothas posted my favourite take on Kanye called "Kanye's Politics Are What Happens When You Don't Read Books."
"...if he’d actually pick up a book (and not just any 48 Laws of Power-ass book, but the right books), he’d be aware of the danger of that type of contrarianism and aware that for people like Trump and Owens, their words aren’t about free thinking. They’re specifically and intentionally tethered to white resentment, which is also often tied to anti-intellectualism. They’re actually the antithesis of free thought. They don’t think. They incite."
PREACH. Kanye West doesn't read books. He also thinks he is always right. That is a lethal combination.
That combination has led Kanye to posting dumbass photos in a Make America Great Again hat and fanboy dedications to the White Supremacist In Chief. Understandably, for a lot of people, this was the last straw. Drake, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Janelle Monae, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Zayn and Harry Styles are just a few of the celebs that (as of post time) have reportedly unfollowed Kanye West. Full lists here and here.
Drake and Kanye were spotted in Wyoming last month for what most people assumed was a recording session for their rumoured joint album (Kanye has a studio in Wyoming.) Kendrick, Rihanna and The Weeknd were on Kanye’s last album, The Life of Pablo. He’s famously collaborated with Nicki a few times. We know that Jay-Z and Beyoncé jumped ship years ago. So, the most powerful names in black entertainment are seemingly done with Kanye. When Lainey and I were talking about this, she brought up the fact that it’s almost impossible to be a lone wolf in this era of music. It’s all about collaboration and community. Who is Kanye West, the artist, if he’s lost both? He’s lost the collaboration, community and, presumably, the content that is dominating popular music.
Look at the last albums by Jay, Kendrick, Common, and even Drake’s latest song and video. Artists are stepping up to use their voices to SAY SOMETHING in this moment. Kanye, in his MAGA hat with his stupid ass tweets, seems to be leaning in the exact opposite direction. He’s left these artists no choice but to give up on him.
The other interesting thing about the celeb mass exodus from Kanye’s Twitter is the timing. They all started leaving yesterday. The first reports I saw of celebs unfollowing Kanye tapped Rihanna and Kendrick as the ones who led the way. I don’t think anyone actually got on the phone to talk about when they would unfollow Kanye but the first few artists gave permission for the others to follow suit. They took the stand that says, “I don’t care who the f-ck you are, that sh-t doesn’t fly on my timeline!”
Knowing Kanye, he’s going to pretend not to care about losing followers. He actually might not give a f-ck. I truly think he believes that his “unpopular opinion” makes him special and “ahead of his time,” instead of just an idiot. Kanye’s raging ego might make him delusional enough to think he doesn’t need anyone else to succeed. But what happens if Drake pulls the plug on that alleged joint album? And what happens when none of us can get the image of Kanye next to Donald Trump out of our heads come June when his album drops? What happens when pressure starts coming down hard on the few artists who still support him to reconsider their loyalty?
Chance The Rapper tweeted in defense of Kanye yesterday and while I understand Chance’s affinity for ‘Ye, I also understand the backlash.
Black people don’t have to be democrats.— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) April 25, 2018
This is not about political parties. I'll let Janelle Monae break down why we're way passed politics and "free-thought" when we talk about certain figures.
Janelle Monáe said everything that needed to be said regarding Kanye’s views pic.twitter.com/1yXEPJcnVb— Chris (@chrstnavelli) April 25, 2018
Janelle reposted this clip and her post has over 53,000 likes. The reckoning is coming for Kanye West. If black women are done with him (an informal Twitter scan tells me I was basically the last one standing) and celebs are dropping by the minute, who does Kanye have left? By the time this is posted, I am sure there will be many more Kanye West tweets to be mad about and more celebs will either come to his defense or unfollow him but the lines have been drawn. Kanye’s new music will be in serious jeopardy if the only co-sign he can get is Kid Rock’s.
And don’t forget he’s also trying to sell Yeezys. If Kanye aligns himself with Trump enough, does buying Yeezys become synonymous with a Trump endorsement? That’s not good for business. If I see Yeezys at an alt-right rally, I swear to Beyoncé, I’m tapping out of 2018.