Kanye West bucked back at entertainment media who have criticized him in a new interview with Pharrell Williams for i-D Magazine, comparing himself to Michael Jackson and insisting that Black celebrities should be protected from scrutiny.
“We should have something that says we can’t allow any company to tear down our heroes,” he posited. “Not on The Shade Room, not on social media and especially not in documentaries. I’m like every time the media isn’t happy with me it’s like, ‘Here they go. They’re gonna come and Wacko Jacko me.’ Which in some ways, they’ve tried to do.”
Of course, Kanye may be referring to the last several years, in which he stumped for Donald Trump, insisted that slavery “sounds like a choice,” publicly revealed his bipolar diagnosis, and stoked his now decade-long feud with Taylor Swift to sell more records. He certainly has been called out and criticized for some of these actions — several times on this very site — but as with most of the outlandish or self-aggrandizing comments he makes, there is a sliver of truth.
Tabloid outlets like The Shade Room do encourage readers to slam, shame, ridicule, and mock the subjects of their posts, often with little regard to the fact that their targets are human beings who deserve empathy. However, what Kanye would like sounds less like asking for empathy and more like immunity to behave however he likes without scrutiny, which is a thing that no public figure should ever warrant. If he wants the accolades, praise, and wealth that come from having a giant platform, he also has to accept the responsibility to use it properly and the scrutiny that comes from abusing it.
Meanwhile, Pharrell spoke at some length about the possibility that social distancing may become “the new normal.” “”I don’t think there will be such a thing as a new normal – it doesn’t do enough justice to the difference in who we were pre-pandemic and who we will be moving forward,” he said. “I think it’s made a lot of people very wary and on edge. Life’s going to have a different kind of gravity than it’s ever had before… But we have been through many plagues before. We have been through pandemics. We survived. We’re gonna make it. In a lot of ways we got ourselves into this, we gotta get to work to get through it.”
View this post on Instagram
"I don’t think there will be such a thing as a new normal – it doesn’t do enough justice to the difference in who we were pre-pandemic and who we will be moving forward." Last month in Miami, Pharrell connected with two of his favourite photographers Mert & Marcus (who shot him remotely from London) before jumping on the phone with close friend and longtime collaborator #KanyeWest in Wyoming, for an expansive conversation on the chaos of lockdown and how we can all come through the other side together. Hit the link in bio to read Pharrell's i-D cover story in full. 🖖 On sale now: www.i-dstore.co 100% of profits raised from the sale of this issue will be donated to @blklivesmatter [The Faith In Chaos Issue, No. 360, Summer 2020] . . . Photography @mertalas & @macpiggott
Read the full interview here.