Why should I waste this blog space to talk about a pretentious, insecure, scumbag who pats himself on the back so much that his shirts have handprints? Why should I defend the “jerk” as President Obama would call it, that stole a poor innocent girl’s spotlight on national television? Why should I go to bat for the sacrilegious heathen who takes photo shoots rocking a crown of thorns? I’m doing it because “Jesus died for our sins, Michael Jackson died for the sins of the media, Jesus had the bible, Michael had Wikipedia.” In other words, individuals who have pushed the envelope in society have always been persecuted for their forward thinking. While I’m certainly not juxtaposing Kanye West to any religious figure or music icon, I am saying that his candid words in a recent 17 minute interview reveal that West is too complex of a person to be written off as a douche bag, scum bag, or a –hole.
To fetter creativity is to block the dreams, passions, and emotions that reside in all of us. As an artist Kanye West has redefined the space that is hip-hop, and torn down the suffocating walls. As a human being, he has put his career on the line several times, by taking enormous risks for things that he believes in. A few years ago, everyone said that he was out of line by claiming, “George W. Bush hates Black people”. Not only is there a consensus in the Black community today that the Hurricane Katrina debacle was poorly handled by the Bush administration, but anyone with eyes and ears saw the disparate treatment of Black folks (looters and refugees) and White folks (families ssearching for food) by the media. Let’s have a toast for someone having the testicular fortitude to tell the truth!
Although the media tried to swift boat Kanye after the Grammy fiasco, he turned it into one of the most anticipated albums of the year and let’s be frank, skyrocketed Taylor’s Swifts career. Last year he was an a-hole, now we are making a toast to this a-hole because he had phoenixes and ballerinas along side 808 beats and tight chords in a well crafted 34 minute musical masterpiece that transcended the boundaries of hip-hop. As West said, “Do you think Taylor Swift would have lost if she had been in the game for 15-20 years on her almost 50th video? HELL NO!” Whether you are a Beyonce fan or not, there is some validity to this statement. Maybe Kanye taking the mic away from Taylor was sophomoric and even rude, but he expressed the sentiments of a lot of people. Could that have been done another way? Obviously! Was this the most memorable moment of the decade at the Grammys? Definitely! Let’s have a toast to #real talk!
I’ll let you decide: Beyonce vs. Taylor Swift
West said that he gained everything because he lost fear. To be the first of your time is never easy. Anybody who reinvents the wheel is usually an enigma to others. Michael Jackson was an androgynous freak to some, Jimmie Hendrix was a psychedelic psychopath, and Andy Warhol was a confused and demented artist to others, but they all challenged us to think outside of the box. West talked about the shortcomings of reducing an individual’s whole life to a few societal conceptions based on misunderstanding. Should a man be considered less masculine because he is a gentleman , (“It’s almost like you’re bordeline not masculine if you open the door for a woman”), or because he is actually well-groomed? Should a Black kid be called “White” because he is well-traveled and can speak multiple languages? Let’s have a toast for ripping off labels!
Finally, the reason I have decided to come to the defense of Kanye West has nothing to do with him personally. I have never met or conversed with him. I wrote this blog post for every person who feels bound by the pressures of society to act, think, dress, and comport themselves in such a way that doesn’t allow them to be who they are. There are 5 year old geniuses who will never reach their full potential because somebody will tell them “that’s gay” or “that’s out of line”. There are 75 year olds who lived unfulfilling lives because they were too afraid to stand up to society’s narrow boundaries. Don’t runaway from your dreams, live the good life, because when it all falls down they will call you a monster. However, when they see all of the lights they will be making toasts to you. Let’s have a toast!