Column: If Kanye knows what’s best for him, he would hand the mic to someone else and take a seat

Kanye West’s most recent politically charged rants and outburst are doing more harm than good.
Rap artist Kanye West performed on Saturday Night Live on Sept. 30, 2018, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, which made many cast members uncomfortable. Courtesy of

Roshae Hemmings is a first year journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about civil rights.

To know Kanye is to love Kanye. Or hate him.

The rapper and fashion designer has had his fair share of controversy. Whether it be him stealing microphones, stating that slavery was a choice or accusing President George W. Bush of not caring about black people, Kanye West knows how to elicit strong reactions from fans and critics alike. This past weekend was no different. West made an impromptu speech during the Saturday Night Live premiere on Sept. 30, in which he was the musical guest. The speech was unaired on television.

“They bullied me backstage,” West said in a video captured by an audience member. “They said, ‘don’t go out there with that hat on.’ They bullied me backstage. They bullied me!” He said, wearing a look of intensity on his face and a MAGA hat on his head.

After West removed his cap, he continued with his rant.

“Or I’mma put my Superman cape on, ’cause this means you can’t tell me what to do,” he continued while putting the cap back on, referring to it as a cape. “Follow your heart and stop following your mind. That’s how we’re controlled. That’s how we’re programmed. If you want the world to move forward, try love.”

Among hearing murmurs of West’s outburst, I wasn’t too surprised.

In fact, this is the most normal and least infuriating thing that has happened in 2018, given the current political and social landscape. From the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, 2018 has had no shortage of disappointing moments. While Kanye’s comments aren’t the worst we’ve seen he definitely doesn't make the year better.

The comments he expressed, and really anything that West has said nowadays, has me scratching my head in confusion and shaking my head in disappointment.

After the outburst, conservative news media was all over the story, broadcasting headlines of West’s support of President Donald Trump and his heroic actions.

This is what frustrates me the most because it is something that has been done time and time again: commentary from conservative black people in right-wing media.

Whether it be Candace Owens, Ben Carson, Stacey Dash, Michael Steele, Dennis Rodman, and now Kanye West, the goal for these celebrities and political figures on these platforms isn’t to welcome them or give them a security blanket within the Republican sphere.

It’s to make it appear as if their platform and viewpoints have approval among the black community as a whole.

For President Trump, who has a well-known history of being racist, to receive support from members of a community that he has offended only helps his supporters to overlook the bad and see him as an admirable leader. For the Black community, however, it only continues to silence our concerns and adds on to the erasure of our challenging history in this country.

Wearing his “Superman cape” or proclaiming his love for Trump doesn’t make him look cool or woke, it makes him look unaware and ignorant. To claim that “slavery was a choice” and to suggest that the 13th Amendment be abolished is not only indicative of West’s lack of self-awareness. It also signals a lack of awareness of what African-Americans had to endure in this country and continue to endure, through the laws, policies, and systems that are strategically put in place to ensure the that Black Americans and other people of color are at a disadvantage in comparison to their White counterparts.

At this point in his career, West is known for being outspoken and outlandish. If the world isn’t talking about the bizarre thing that Kanye has done this time, then the world isn’t talking about him at all. And he knows this. With the delay of his upcoming project, Yandhi, it makes sense why he would want his name swirling around in the media. However, it isn’t funny or cute anymore. His whole gig has become tired and played out.

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