While many continue to examine the complexities of hate speech versus free speech and the role of Black media in taking Kanye West to task, a younger – and perhaps more influential – generation appears at a crossroads with the controversial superstar.
“Many millennials viewed West as an older brother — losing hope in him can feel like losing hope in ourselves, like we’re looking at what’s waiting for us after a few more successes after we find out that white validation is gold-plated and something green and corrosive waits for us beneath it,” Minda Honey, a Louisville, Kentucky based writer and founder of TAUNT, wrote in an earlier editorial.
“If West can’t be Black and brilliant in America, someone like me can’t survive it either. So, we’re resistant to giving up on him,” Honey assessed.
Then there’s Damon Young, a Pittsburgh-based writer and the author of “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays.”
Following his baseless and false attack on George Floyd and a slew of anti-Semitic remarks on Drink Champs, West, who prefers the name “Ye,” finds himself at a crossroads in his career and life.
Young said he’s “still working and thinking and writing my way through the ambivalence I possess about the relationship people like me — terminally online, 40-ish and once stans of Kanye West — have with Kanye West today.”
Young’s Kanye dilemma? “Is he a zeitgeist-steering demagogue?”
“Or do we largely overstate his present-day influence because we know that a pithy tweet about why Kanye sucks is guaranteed social capital? I lean toward the latter,” Young decided.
Black Twitter, particularly millennials and Gen Zers, have expressed an outright willingness to cancel West or an ambivalence to his continued relevance.
“Honestly, Kanye is just a microcosm of the Black cishet men whose ‘revolutionary ideas’ only exist within the framework of white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism,” Cleveland blogger Lex wrote on Twitter.
“They don’t want to upend the system. They want an equal exchange of power with their white counterparts,” Lex concluded.
Ernest Owens, an award-winning journalist and author of “The Case for Cancel Culture,” argued that West’s behavior explains what Black women mean when they say that straight black men are the white men of the community.
“There are a lot of individuals in our families, offices, and networks who think just like [West],” Owens declared.
“They are protecting Kanye West because they think like him.”
Known recently as much for his unfiltered rants than his creativity, West has begun to feel the backlash in his billion-dollar pockets.
The Balenciaga fashion house, which has a relationship with Kim Kardashian, became the latest to cut ties with West.
“Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist,” parent company Kering said this week.
Adidas reportedly has continued to re-evaluate its ties to the icon.
Influencer Tony Posnanski decried those who point to West’s alleged mental illness as an excuse for his behavior.
“He is a racist a-hole,” Posnanski concluded. “There is no amount of medication or therapy that will help resolve that.”
Added Tim Black, the host, and founder of “Coffee with Tim Black,” “Many people defending Kanye say he was just exercising free speech. I wonder why they didn’t feel that way about Colin Kaepernick exercising his.”
Finally, Bishop Talbert Swan said West, like several others, deserved cancelation.
“Kanye West, Candace Owens, Jason Whitlock, Brandon Tatum, and any Black person out here parroting the false narrative that white men in America are oppressed are willing tools of white supremacy and sycophantic, bootlicking, traitors, that deserve to be shunned by the culture,” Swan asserted.
Click here to view a broader conversation about Kanye West and the Black Press.
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