So Kanye West is back on social media, and in the media. The first I heard back from the guy was a tweeted stream of consciousness Ye unleashed on the world a week or so ago. Mostly motivational / inspirational stuff, the kind of tweets you might see me post.
Then, Kanye upped the ante by talking politics.
Threw a shot at Obama by referring to the high murder rates in Chicago that have persisted despite Barack’s 8 years in the White House. Told us that Blacks don’t have to be Democrats just because we’re Black.
Kanye is famous, and known for speaking his mind in an unfiltered fashion, so these statements were bound to garner attention, but the general consensus seemed to be that his banter was harmless. Kanye speaking his mind again and possibly ruffling some feathers — so what?
Then he brought up Donald Trump.
If you don’t recall, Kanye went to meet with Trump shortly after Trump won the Presidency two years ago, and many people didn’t like it (no one knows what transpired in said meeting; all we got was a photo). Many felt Donald was playing Kanye, Ray Lewis, Jim Brown, and many other prominent Blacks who met with the new President just to show that he cares about Black people when he really doesn’t.
Kanye’s tweets turned to him sharing his appreciation and love (Ye has been using that word a lot) for Trump. There are people out there — maybe you — who hate Donald Trump, but to me even this was a benign comment. Having love for a person, even one who has done (what you see as) bad things, is a virtue, right? I have
love for a guy whom many people don’t like is not anything to sound an alarm over.
However, Kanye continued raising the stakes. He started posting the #MAGA hashtag Trump used throughout his campaign, and Ye even posted a photo of himself wearing the Old-White-Man (no offense) trucker hat Trump had donned on the campaign trail.
That’s when things got wild. Well, social-media-wild.
I follow fewer than 100 people on Twitter. When I see a tweet that I know is going to garner reactions, I just open it and browse the replies. People jumped on the opportunity to shit on Kanye, either make jokes or showing how “woke” they were by criticizing Kanye with logical rebuttals that their followers happily retweeted.
Kanye smartly released a song, Ye Vs. The People, where he and TI (representing The People) went back and forth discussing Kanye’s stance and how The People feel about it. No conclusions were reached and no minds were changed, but it’s a great song regardless.
Kanye then went on a short interview tour. I’m about halfway through his two-hour talk with Charlamagne.
Kanye also visited the offices of TMZ to share his story. I haven’t seen the entire piece yet, but a certain clip went viral this week (and it wasn’t the part where Kanye admits to having liposuction and being addicted to opioids).
While talking politics and Trump, Kanye mentioned 400 years of slavery and said, “sounds like a choice.” Twitter brought it to my attention when I saw the #MuteKanye hashtag (seemed to me Kanye was being sarcastic, and/or referring to how we talk about slavery — not the actual institution itself— but I digress).
Then, TMZ posted a perfectly edited clip of a Black TMZ employee speaking up and putting Kanye in his place about the non-thoughtful, hurtful things he’s been saying lately that denigrate the Black person’s struggle. The guy, Van Lathan, became his own hashtag Tuesday evening and, even if he accomplishes nothing else in life, will be a legend for firing the opening shot of the Setting Kanye Straight cause.
At least until next week, when something else gets “everyone’s” attention on social media.
For Your Game
- It’s been very interesting to watch people — college educated, business owners, the highly successful, every famous and social-media-active Black person — react and overreact to everything Kanye has been saying recently, especially the slavery comment (as of Wednesday morning, every publication out has this as their top web story). Whether this whole episode is a publicity stunt or Kanye just being himself, he has people trained like Pavlov’s dog to salivate on his every word. Here’s the key: When everyone is reacting, don’t. There’s
usuallyalways another way to look at most things that happen and/or get said, especially the “breaking news” that demands your attention (remember: websites make money for clicks, not quality).
- Back when I first started posting YouTube videos, I’d encounter my share of clowns in my comments — people who’d just talk shit to talk shit, with nothing to gain — nowadays we call them trolls. And I used to go toe-to-toe with trolls in the comments, making sure I’d set the idiot straight before moving on. I don’t do that anymore: I block people at the first hint of troll-ism. It saves time and energy. As they say, the wise man doesn’t argue with fools; the idea is to be the better person and have more dignity and class than those trying to drag you into the nonsense. I heard Jason Whitlock (a prominent Black guy who’s been a magnet for controversy for his thoughts on race) say that when Martin Luther King organized the Civil Rights movement, the whole purpose was for us to be better than the people trying to hold us back. Carry yourself with dignity. Don’t react to everything they say or do. Be above the negativity. Looking at the reactions — not responses, but reactions, and there’s a difference — to Kanye, people like Whitlock and even Trump, I think we (people, of any race) have lost that idea completely. People’s method of standing for their cause these days is to attack, demonize and ostracize. While it may feel good, and will surely win you some fans, it doesn’t produce a result. And isn’t that what we’re here for?
- Man’s #1 fear: Criticism. To this end, be wary of anything someone says publicly that you can assume will be widely accepted. Doesn’t mean they don’t believe it — also doesn’t mean that they do. What they do know is, they won’t be criticized for it, and no one can accuse them of not “speaking out.”
Have you been paying attention to Kanye? Is he going crazy, or just finally exposing his true self, or just an attention whore who’s about to drop an album? Reply and tell me your perspective.