“Wake up, Mr. West”.
Kanye West uses that phrase frequently throughout many of his albums, and it seems he may have had a wake up call with his recent hospitalization. Shortly before his admission into Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Kanye went on an onstage rant during which he talked about Beyonce and award show politics, and praised President-elect Donald Trump. Kanye’s praise for Trump totally catches one off guard, but with further reflection, it shouldn’t.
Kanye is one of the big voices in hip-hop, and many of his lyrics reflect his frustration and the still-obvious divide between white and black. In his song, “New Slaves” he opens with the verse:
“My momma was raised in the era when
Clean water was only served to the fairer skin
Doin’ clothes you would have thought I had help
But they wasn’t satisfied unless I picked the cotton myself
You see it’s broke (expletive) racism
That’s that “Don’t touch anything in the store”
And it’s rich (expletive) racism
That’s that “Come in, please buy more”
“What you want, a Bentley? Fur coat? A diamond chain?
All you blacks want all the same things”
This verse very obviously shows Kanye’s views on classism. In one interview with the Atlanta Black Star, he said the problem in America is classism. Kanye suggests that black people need to accept the fact that racism exists and that it will likely never go away completely. It’s rather confusing as to why Kanye, who has urged black people to stop focusing on racism and focus on classism, would vote for Trump, who is undoubtedly of the upper echelons both financially and in terms of class.
Of course, he talks about these issues with a special kind of Kanye bluntness, not sugarcoating what he perceives to be reality. His harshness makes him hard to handle, but still, his point gets made.
Who else speaks their mind, regardless of palatability? President-elect Trump won the dang election thanks in part to his lack of “political correctness.”
Kanye addressed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in his rant, saying, “It’s a new world, Hillary Clinton, it’s a new world… Feelings matter. Because guess what? Everybody in middle America felt a way and they showed you how they felt.”
Kanye got that right: Trump played on the feelings of the Midwest, coming in as a political outsider and a guy to beat the system that was doing them wrong. In this age, feelings really do matter.
Kanye’s touch for feelings, his celebrity and his bombastic personality all liken him to Trump. I think a Kanye 2020 run for president is extremely likely. If Donald Trump can become president-elect, why couldn’t Kanye West?
Trump paved the way for Kanye to try his luck at American politics. Whether that’s a bad thing is totally a matter of opinion, but Kanye’s anti-classist views are extremely unique and could bring a fresh take.