By Noah Vargas
Elm Staff Writer
Kanye “Ye” West is a figure who needs no introduction. Known for his Grammy-winning rap career and sneaker empire, West has impacted countless groups of people.
His first album, “The College Dropout,” was considered groundbreaking for its time, speaking about issues like racism and class struggle over infectious beats and endlessly layered production.
The amount of creativity and passion West has for his craft was inspiring to a whole generation who was unsure of themselves and their aspirations.
West is a huge figure in both pop culture and the music scene. With the fame came some more projects and collaborations, but also numerous controversies.
Whether it was storming the stage at the 2009 VMAs – interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video – or dissing artists like Billie Eilish during tours, positive public perception started to dwindle.
Whenever issues like this arose, there were always fans who would defend him, chalking it up to his mental health and the pressures of being in the spotlight twenty-four seven.
Some fans blamed West’s behavior on his mental health, since he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016. The overall consensus was that he just needed help, and taking medication could prevent these outbursts. But in the years since he was diagnosed, his actions and statements grew more concerning and harmful.
In 2016, he publicly supported Trump’s presidential campaign, and in 2018, he walked into the TMZ offices and proclaimed that 400 years of slavery was a “choice.” At that point, he lost the respect of many fans and supporters.
“Fact: Before Kanye West was ‘the face of Anti-Semitism,’ he was one of the hip-hop faces of misogynoir, anti-Blackness, Trumpism, and slavery-denial. And y’all still gave him contracts, documentaries, endorsements, clothing deals, and millions that became billions. Shame,” Ernest Owens tweeted.
Earlier this year, West entered the public eye once again following his divorce from influencer Kim Kardashian. He shared personal messages between him and Kardashian while also threatening her boyfriend at the time, comedian Pete Davidson.
Right when it seemed things couldn’t get any worse, the recent anti-Semitic comments seemed to have ruined his reputation altogether.
On Oct. 6, West was interviewed by Tucker Carlson. At first, the interview was about his recent “decision to wear a shirt with the white supremacist slogan ‘White Lives Matter’ at Paris Fashion Week,” according to ADL.
In another interview for the podcast “Drink Champs,” West discussed hurtful conspiracy theories about the death of George Floyd and abortion, according to ADL.
He was also interviewed on Oct. 17 with Chris Cuomo on NewsNation. According to ADL, West used harmful phrases “Jewish underground media mafia” and “every celebrity has Jewish people in their contract.”
According to ADL, “He also claimed that his life was threatened by his Jewish managers, lawyer, and accountant due to his political beliefs.”
West said some of the most offensive and outlandish claims towards the Jewish community. It’s enough where people can’t make excuses for him anymore.
Fans are not the only ones responding to West’s statements. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis also addressed the comments in a recent Today interview.
“I woke up and burst into tears…it’s bad enough that fascism is on the rise around the world. But on Twitter, on a portal, to pour that in? As if Jewish people haven’t had it hard enough? It was just abhorrent,” Curtis said.
Ex-wife Kardashian also spoke out showing support towards the Jewish community.
“Hate speech is never okay or excusable. I stand together with the Jewish community and call on the terrible violence and hateful rhetoric towards them to come to an immediate end,” Kardashian tweeted.
While the comments have deterred West’s career, many “extremists and anti-Semites have embraced West’s recent statements, leveraging his comments to further their own agendas,” according to ADL.
As West continues to hold this platform, he is only encouraging hate speech amongst these groups. They are supporting West’s possible decision to “purchase the right-wing social media platform Parler,” according to ADL.
West is refusing to get help, and is completely fine with inflicting whatever pain he can on anybody for his own selfish gain and amusement. At the end of the day, that’s not the West that so many people fell in love with. His words hold so much weight, and he deliberately used his platform to threaten an entire community of people that has been historically discriminated against. It is devastating to see such an influential figure, whose music has meant so much to fans, making these harmful comments.
West is too dangerous to have a platform right now. Adidas and GAP have dropped their partnerships with him, and hopefully other companies he’s aligned with will do the same, because as a society we can’t keep allowing this to happen. We just can’t.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Rapper Kanye West has come under scrutiny for recent anti-Semitic comments, leading many fans to wonder if they should support him.