The Downfall of Kanye West: When Will Consumers Call it Quits?


Ni'yah-Marie Preacely, Opinion Editor

Kanye Omari West is one of, if not the biggest, rapper of the 21st century. With 10 platinum albums, 22 Grammys, and over 160 million records sold, West has had a long-lasting impact on pop culture for over a decade. 

Recently, West has found himself at the center of several controversies due to his public, hateful comments. 

With the accolades and recognition for his amazing music came the inflation of his ego: the feeling he’s entitled to awards and that his opinion is the right one. Several of the arguments made for West’s behavior come from his 2016 bipolar disorder diagnosis or the loss of his mother, Donda West in 2007. However, mental health is a reason, not a justification. 

West has a long history of these “cries for attention” in the media to garner recognition. Examples include the infamous 2009 MTV Music Awards, where he interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video claiming Beyonce should’ve won instead. In the past, West’s sudden outbursts have been laughed off and seen as a meme, and then the media moves on. However, I’m not sure if that’s the case anymore. Lately, all the media is talking about is whatever West is saying next. 

West has shown the world his questionable views for a while now. While on TMZ in May 2018, he said, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years-for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You were there for 400 years, and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.”

Kanye West, a man who has in his music provided commentary on the oppression of black people, essentially said slavery was a choice. A living oxymoron. During his Yeezy, SZN 9 fashion show in Paris on Oct. 3 West wore a shirt with the writing “WHITE LIVES MATTER” on it. The phrase is meant to invalidate the Black Lives Matter movement by countering it. After the show, he then went on to post an Instagram story stating: “Everyone knows that Black Lives Matter was a scam now it’s over you’re welcome.” 

West, without shame, also made public his antisemitic views. On Oct. 17, during a recording on the podcast Drink Champs, he stated: “You really influenced me to get on this anti-Semite vibe and, you know, I’m here to finish the job. I’m here to not back down.” 

After the podcast episode came out on Oct. 22, a neo-Nazi hate group, known as the Goyim Defense League hung a banner over a California highway overpass while doing the nazi salute.

Most recently, on Dec. 1 while on Alex Jones’ podcast InfoWars, West praised Adolf Hitler saying “there’s a lot of things I love about Hitler; a lot of things,” and then continued to deny the Holocaust. 

As a result of West’s hate speech, several companies have severed their relationships with West. Brands such as Gap, Adidas, and Balenciaga ended their business and personal relationships with the artist, causing him to lose his billionaire status. West’s net worth is now believed to be roughly 400 million dollars. 

Despite all the evidence showing why West’s words are harmful, he is still given a platform. Not only by the headline-greedy media but also by his brainwashed fans.

West’s narcissism isn’t only affecting himself and his businesses, it’s affecting the black community as a whole. He is being made another redundant stereotype by the media for black people. As someone “whose out of control.” A black man claiming that Black Lives Matter is a “scam” only feeds into the opposition to the movement. People who don’t believe in the movement will continue to use him as an example like a puppet in a parade to justify their racism. 

There is no denying his impact on rap and hip-hop, he is arguably one of the best artists in the world. However, his impact with his horrendous political statements is outshining that. The question I’m asking is “is the feeling of nostalgia when listening to his music worth the attention it’s giving him?” There are people all over social media claiming “I don’t care what he says, he made the Graduation album.” Where is the respect? If not for yourself, what about the marginalized groups you’re publicly offending? It’s not only shocking how the public will place music sales and public attention over the feelings of people, it’s extremely disheartening. The sad truth is there will always be people with no backbone who will stand by and support this man and his egomania to the fullest. 

A platform, especially one with millions of fans, is something almost incalculable in value. If Kanye West doesn’t respect the power of his own platform, then he doesn’t deserve to have one. As the people who gave him that platform, we, the audience, are the only ones who can take it away.