Kanye West told artist Axel Verdoordt in a recent interview that he hopes his work “represents humanity for the next 500 to 1,000 years.” The quote reminded me of a musing I’ve always had when it comes to Kanye: If we were waaay in the future, in a time when white supremacy has hopefully been dismantled, Kanye’s push for free thought and idealism above all would be commendable. In 2018, however, he’s continuing to make a fool of himself.
He once tweeted that Twitter was “designed specifically with me in mind just my humble opinion hahhhahaaaahaaa humble hahahahhahaahaaaa.” In theory, Twitter is an ideal vessel for the impulsive, outspoken artist to have 24/7 access to the public. But eight years later, his tweets are showing that we don’t at all want to know what he’s thinking — unless it’s music-related.
On Sunday, he tweeted that “people demonize people and then they demonize anybody who sees anything positive in someone whose been demonized.”
That’s true. But the problem with the tweet is that he’s not merely philosophizing, he’s weaponizing it against people who were legitimately upset that on Saturday he expressed admiration for conservative pundit Candace Owens. Owens is a conservative Black woman who even fellow Republican Eugene Craig called a “Tomi Lahren in Blackface.” In her bluntly-titled I Don’t Care About Charlottesville, the KKK, or White Supremacy video, she opined that Black Lives Matter organizers should “extend their slogan to ‘Don’t Shoot, Because We’ve Already Got It Covered.”
What’s ironic is Owens, who Ye admired as a “free thinker,” specializes in respectability politic-laden talking points concocted by so-called conservatives whose policies conserve an oppressive status quo for Black America. She doesn’t seem like someone who would have gotten to speak on College Dropout.
Kanye still defended her, though. In a subsequent tweet, Kanye noted that “the thought police want to suppress freedom of thought.” Since his return to Twitter, he’s been on an ongoing spiel about freedom of speech, which has aligned him with some strange bedfellows. His tweet about Owens was supported by Roseanne Barr, and even Alex Jones offered him a chance to come on his show.
In a recent conversation with Hot 97’s Ebro Darden, Yeezy allegedly claimed that he still “loves Donald Trump.” He also said he admires Owens because she’s “challenging conventional Black thought,” as Ebro attributed to Kanye. What Kanye doesn’t realize is that the world is full of brilliant Black thinkers but he’s choosing to co-sign reductive ones.
The confounding ordeal exemplifies the “New Kanye.” He wants the world to be full of free thinkers so bad that he champions ones with actual restrictive thoughts, blind to the consequences of his actions that exist outside of the Kardashian bubble. It’s unclear how much of Owens’ dangerous racial pathology he agrees with. He told Ebro that he planned to clarify his thoughts, but decided to “take the heat.” Ebro incisively interpreted that response as Kanye longing to stir publicity by keeping people discussing his polarizing tweets.