April 25, 2018
Mercurial hip-hop star Kanye West burst out of his extended absence from the public eye last week with a series of philosophical tweets he described as some kind of "book" — one you really have to read for yourself.
The novelty of the barrage, which came with an announcement of two new albums, wore out pretty quickly after West expressed his admiration for conservative commentator Candace Owens.
I love the way Candace Owens thinks— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 21, 2018
Owens, a staunch critic of Black Lives Matter, has rankled the landscape of sociopolitical analysis, if not because of her post-racial denialism — a recent revelation, apparently — then generally because of statements such as the one below.
I truly believe that @realDonaldTrump isn’t just the leader of the free world, but the savior of it as well.— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) April 17, 2018
May God bless America— the last stand for western civilization.
This was not the first time West shared his affinity for controversial figures on the right. He met with then President-elect Donald Trump in December 2016 ostensibly to address "multicultural issues" ranging from bullying to inner-city violence in Chicago. Emerging from a mental health crisis at the time, Yeezy escaped the level of scrutiny he's receiving this time around.
The overall message in West's recent tweets seems to be the all-importance of free thought. Because he evidently associates that with figures like Owens and Trump, the tidal wave of criticism he's facing for that stance should hardly come as a surprise to anyone. Owens is a self-styled iconoclast and Trump is, you know, always and forever Trump.
West dug his heels in further on Wednesday with yet another string of political tweets, including a photo of an autographed "Make America Great Again" hat. President Trump himself called it "very cool."
You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don't agree with everything anyone does. That's what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
Free thinkers don't fear retaliation for your thoughts. The traditional thinkers are only using thoughts and words but they are in a mental prison. You are free. You've already won. Feel energized. Move in love not fear. Be afraid of nothing.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
my wife just called me and she wanted me to make this clear to everyone. I don't agree with everything Trump does. I don't agree 100% with anyone but myself.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
my MAGA hat is signed 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/DrDHJybS8V— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
whenever someone mentions the word "fan" to me it's super manipulative. It's like "don't do or say this because of your fans" My fans are fans of themselves.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
And any fan of me wants Ye to be Ye even when they don't agree because I represent the fact that they can be themselves even when people don't agree with them. Drops mic 🎤Yeezy shrug 🤷♂️— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
Liberal calls to boycott West's music were quick to surface in the aftermath of this latest tweetstorm (which did not in fact cost him millions of followers, contrary to initial reports). Conservatives then countered in what became a brutally reductive exercise.
If you support the boycott of companies for their ties to the NRA, you should boycott the Kardashian/Kendalls for their ties to Kanye.— robyn🌵 (@robynyourbank) April 25, 2018
Or... Boycott them all because they're trash. I don't wanna see any "woke" friends caring about any of them anymore.
Liberals - “Kanye West is one of the greatest artists of all time!”— Paris Roxanne (@paris4trump) April 25, 2018
Kanye West - “I love Trump. He is my brother”
Liberals - “BOYCOTT KANYE!!!”
Liberalism is a disease 😂
Kanye / Trump history is so wild.— Osman Faruqi (@oz_f) April 25, 2018
In 2009 Trump called for a boycott of Kanye after he interrupted Taylor Swift at the VMAs.
In 2010 Kanye fired back on MBDTF rapping "Balding Donald Trump taking dollars from y'all"
TIME TO WAKE UP CULTURE: Kanye is pushing a Trump agenda & has for 2 years. It’s time we come to grips with this & stop supporting his brand. Would you support another brand endorsing Trump? If you support his Clothes/Music you’re helping him push his Trump agenda. #BoycottKanye pic.twitter.com/DM67nbPD1W— Jason Pollock (@Jason_Pollock) April 25, 2018
Kanye has always used politics and religion to garner more attention towards himself, shining a light on his antics is supporting his marketing strategy, for any other artist, we’d boycott, but it’s Kanye, so we’ll still make his next album go platinum in 2 days— Andy Feliciano (@andyfeliciano28) April 25, 2018
Search the phrase "boycott kanye" and hit latest. It's a cool trick.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) April 25, 2018
Into the fray came outspoken Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long, who generally stands in full support of progressive causes and speaks out frequently against racial discrimination in America. In this case, Long couldn't get on board with the idea of boycotting Kanye West's music.
If you're *boycotting* Kanye's music over political leanings and bad Candice Owens takes, I'm gonna need to see your athlete and entertainer boycott resume. You must be busy.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) April 25, 2018
Where do we disagree? I'm just hoping you keep the moral compass consistent. My commentary is more based on the selective outrage of some. https://t.co/4jPChy0g1E— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) April 25, 2018
I'm sure you boycotted the DNC after they gave Bill the floor for 45 minutes and a standing O. You know, the guy who actually authored real, crippling legislation related to the broader convo that Kanye is whiffing on. Maybe you did? https://t.co/OkwW3ZuPJB— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) April 25, 2018
And another pillar is being able to tweet about boycotts. Cool, right? https://t.co/6dKt2SozL7— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) April 25, 2018
Twitter "Thank you, Chris, for not just staying in your lane and expressing your opinions in this political climate because you don't have to"— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) April 25, 2018
*Raises a question about boycotting Kanye's music*
Twitter "Stay in your lane."
Nah, I'm good.
I am a fan of Kanye’s music. Hate his political leanings and Candice is ridiculous. You act like I hide these opinions, or you just started following me. I’m sure you reject all whataboutisms. They’re used all over twitter. https://t.co/616ffUtgVi— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) April 25, 2018
At the end of the day, Kanye West enjoys the platform he has because of his musical gifts, not his fashion cult or his politics. His well-known antics are permitted because of the strength of his music. If he falters on these albums, one of which is a collaboration with Kid Cudi, then he'll probably have to get that right again ASAP.
It would otherwise be tough for him to maintain credibility in the face of claims that his Kardashian bubble has changed and blinded him to the world he believes all this jagged wisdom is serving.
to be great is to be misunderstood— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 24, 2018
We'll find out soon enough.
my album is 7 songs— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 19, 2018
June 1st— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 19, 2018
Just a guess: it'll be polarizing.