If you read my article from last week, then in all likelihood you aren’t very happy with me right now.
I told a few people about that article as I was writing it, and most responded with either bewilderment or by insulting my character. But why? What do you think makes this topic such a sensitive issue?
See, you’re getting your information from headlines and fanatical places on the Internet that have nothing to do with the actual product the artists are making.
Not to mention, you’re doing this without researching for yourself. This problem relates mostly to Kanye, and there are two vital issues with the outlets from which you get your information.
Number one: they’re racist! Literally every piece of media is violently, dangerously racist in their own terrifying way. I’m not just talking about wild bloggers, either. In an article Time wrote on the “Top 10 Outrageous Kanye West Moments” you can see some pretty horrifying racial biases.
For example, fourth on the list details the moment at a Red Cross benefit event for victims of hurricane Katrina where Kanye goes off script, criticizing the way the media was portraying black people as looters, and white people as “gathering supplies.” The first sentence of commentary on that article is “Teleprompters are just for little people, apparently.”
I don’t care what your opinion is of Kanye West. In that moment, he addressed an issue that nobody else was bothering to—and he was right. Black neighborhoods were always the last to be helped during Katrina, and it was probably the fault of those portraying them as thieves. People died because of it.
Bringing it up was a morally sound thing to do. Kanye even looked like he was about to cry when he talked about it. But he was written off as having an ego trip.
Not to mention the Taylor Swift VMA debacle. Yeah, interrupting her was a very rude thing to do (he apologized repeatedly and was forgiven). Kanye has always been a bit odd though, and a little obnoxious.
It wasn’t until he was publicly mean to a white girl that the world decided to hate him. I took a look at Kanye West’s record sales. Every album has consistently somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 less sales than the previous one. This makes sense because those albums have had less time to be on sale.
However, the album “808’s and Heartbreak” has a whopping 1 million less sales than the one before it. You might have guessed that “808’s” was the album that Kanye had on shelves during the 2009 VMAs. I’m not saying this is proof, but the disparity between album sales after snatching that mic has a large, racist rain cloud looming over its head.
The second, much simpler problem is that these media outlets literally get paid to make popular artists look like jerks. A huge part of this that I take grave issue with is criticism over Yeezy’s ego.
Remember, West was born a poor kid. Every systemic issue in our country assists with holding people like him down. But Mr. West beat that system. He is one of the most powerful artists in the world. I think you would be pretty cocky yourself if you pulled that off.
But really, a lot of that is just misrepresentation. Take the notorious Rolling Stone cover where ‘Ye is dressed like Jesus. That wasn’t even Kanye’s idea, and he was contractually obligated—but he gets exclusive credit for that image. By the way, the song “Jesus Walks” which that cover is named after at no point likens West to Jesus.
I got overwhelmed and have to relocate my evaluation of John Lennon’s undeserved saint status to the third and final part of this series, where we will also discover the danger these trends lend to our society.