Kanye West has had so many controversies, you may have forgotten some.
From his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards to his early take on former President Trump and his “Make America Great Again” agenda, the artist, designer and entrepreneur is perhaps best known for being a provocateur. .
The latest calls to drop West, who legally changed his name to Ye, may be the most intense yet.
A new outcry arose after the phrase “White Lives Matter” (which the Anti-Defamation League classifies as a “hate slogan” used by white supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan) was worn and appeared at a recent fashion show in Paris. West.
“Kanye’s actions are so dangerous and reckless. I don’t care how great his music is, we need to stop supporting someone who uses his platform so recklessly,” TV host, teacher and former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill posted on social media.
Another flash came earlier this week, when West’s Twitter and Instagram accounts were restricted for policy violations after posts deemed anti-Semitic. Days later, it was announced that her episode of the YouTube series “The Shop: Uninterrupted” would not air because she used her appearance to “repeat very ugly hate speech and stereotypes.”
This has led some to suggest that West’s career has crashed and burned and there is no turning back. But here’s why it shouldn’t be:
While there is talk of “suspending the culture”, today we live in an age where bad behavior, especially by public figures, is all the rage, until it isn’t.
Not only do we live in a society that moves relatively quickly from scandal to scandal, racism and cruelty to others no longer live in the shadows.
So while many people have condemned West for his actions and comments, there are many who support both because they agree with him.
Then there’s the popularity factor.
Star power has only increased in recent years, especially as social media fosters a sense of intimacy between artists and their followers.
“We’ve kept watching and hearing about the plight of Western celebrities mostly because we’re acutely aware that many others are paying attention as well,” wrote the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan recently.
“And every time he says something indecipherable or cruel, we recoil as if we’re shocked again, as if it wasn’t terrible before,” he continued. “We respond as if fame is a deterrent to terrible behavior, that those who know they’re being watched will aim to be on their best behavior, rather than using all the attention as a lure to act out.”
West has been very clear about his admiration for Trump, and the two men seem to share an approach to communication.
West recently said in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson that he “really started to feel that need to express himself on a different level when Trump ran for office and I liked him.”
West said he was warned about supporting Trump, and Carlson told him “my career would be over, my life would be over.”
Instead, West won new fans from some of the same people who support the former president.
Conservative author and after DO IT! America’s founding father Brigitte Gabriel tweeted her support for the West, one of his followers he answered, “I judged quite harshly. I’m finding new respect now.”
It has long been debated whether art can be embraced without supporting the artist. The West has a history of coming out victorious on that question.
In 2018 there were calls for a boycott of West following his comments about the history of slavery in the United States.
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years,” West said in an interview with TMZ. “For 400 years? That seems like an opportunity.”
However, a month later, all seven songs from his album “Ye” debuted on Billboard’s Top 40 chart.
Since then, there have been several other controversies that haven’t stopped West from achieving massive success with his fashion and sneaker lines.
And while West ended his relationship with Gap in September and Adidas looked into their partnership with him, he entered the public consciousness nearly two decades ago through music that people will likely keep coming back to.
In retrospect, West’s first words on his first hit, “Through the Wire,” may have been: “They can’t stop me from rapping, can they?”