Bozell Column: Kanye, Go Away
The rapper Kanye West is known as one of the Western world’s largest egotists, which is really saying something in the boastful world of rap. He’s appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in a crown of thorns, and if that wasn’t obvious enough, his last album was titled “Yeesus.” On one song, he said Jesus was “the most high,” but he was “a close high.”
Now he’s offending the Jews. In a radio interview with MTV personality Sway Calloway in New York, he came to Barack Obama’s defense by asserting “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people. Black people don’t have the same connection as oil people.” Still no mention from liberals – except to maintain that criticism of West is driven by racism.
The Daily Beast published an article titled “In Defense of Kanye West: Saying Kanye West is ‘crazy’ or ‘childish’ or ‘out of control’ follows the socially sanctioned belittlement and demonization of black men.” In this article, Rawiya Kameir completely sidestepped the Jewish-connections remark and stuck to the racism charge.
To sum her up: Kanye doesn’t have a problem sounding stupid. You have a problem for failing to understand his genius. Apparently that would even include President Obama, who was overheard in an 2009 interview calling West a “jackass” after West grabbed a microphone away from Taylor Swift and said she didn’t deserve her win at the MTV Video Music Awards.
“Kanye’s public persona, or to put it more accurately, the public perception of Kanye’s personhood, has largely been defined not by his so-called ‘antics,’ but by white reactions to them. Because of deep-rooted, centuries-old stereotypes used to oppress black men, Kanye is the embodiment of everything America has been taught to fear and hate.”
How, then does this accuser explain millions of white children buying up his CDs? Weren’t they “taught” to oppress instead of enrich him? This oppressed man is worth an estimated $100 million. But victimization is way too seductive to let go.
If Kanye compares himself to Shakespeare, then he’s right, and you’re wrong to burst out laughing, according to Kameir. “While it’s obvious to a fan why he would compare himself to Shakespeare, as he did in an interview with Sway Calloway last week, Kanye’s ascension to Shakespeare-level impact is less apparent to someone to whom he is, unobservantly enough, just another rapper.”
If you think “Hamlet” is an artistic achievement greater than Kanye rapping “I live by two words: ‘f**k you, pay me’,” you are “unobservant.” Insisting West sounds like he can’t count to four? That’s apparently racist.
West blames his dreadful “mistreatment” on “classism,” but Kameir insists “it’s perhaps a misnomer for the gradual switch not from racism to classism, but from legal racism to institutional racism, an infinitely more insidious system of oppression that is relatively easy to identify but, by design, difficult to prove.” Racism never subsides, it only submerges and gets even worse. West’s ranting against critics “rings true to many of us who watch and feel a kinship with him, his honesty, and the challenges posed by attempting to ‘survive America.’”
America stinks. It’s so terrible, perhaps everyone should move to Toronto. That’s where Kameir lives. If you see racism everywhere you look in a “white world” even as when rap’s “Shakespeares” become filthy rich in it, richer than 99.9 percent of whites, then you can be accused of being deeply buried in prejudice of your own.
Kameir is not the first race-baiter to come to West’s defense. In June, the popular website BuzzFeed posted a similar article entitled “In Defense Of Kanye’s Vanity: The Politics Of Black Self-Love.” Being an arrogant, ignorant jerk like West is righteous politics in a racist world.
Heben Nigatu argued “To assert that, despite the boundaries of a racist world that strangles your very view of what is possible...that you will love yourself and love yourself excessively, is powerful beyond measure. And as many black artists have said before, for black folks to love themselves is a political act.”
It’s just ridiculous that mega-rich black rappers complain about their terrible plight. Or is that all just part of their cynical marketing? Don’t count it as a political act. It’s a craven business strategy. Aren’t they and their race-baiting enablers easily accused of strangling the people’s view of what is possible in America? If Kanye West can’t handle the heat of public opinion – especially the opinion of people who live outside the bubble of his ideological apple-polishers – he should just go away.
The other night he performed in the Sprint Center in Kansas City, a venue that was 75 percent empty. Maybe I’m not the only one wishing him to go away.