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Kanye West, Anti-Semitism, Race and Why We Can’t Stop Talking About the Rapper

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I don’t miss the “old” Kanye West, now known as Ye. I’m tired of hearing about the new Ye, and I wish we couldn’t talk about him at all. Many of you are probably in the same boat, especially on the latter. But we can’t, because he remains one of the most influential people in the world, and he uses that power to spread hatred and division. It would be irresponsible not to declare it.

Last Sunday, Ye said on Twitter, a platform where he has twice as many followers as there are Jews in the world, that he would go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.” It is important to note that despite being only 2% of the US population, Jews are the target of nearly 60% of religiously biased crimes.

We must stop talking about Ye in general as a musician, fashion designer and artist, but we must continue to speak loudly against the hatred he uses to sow his massive platform.

In response, Twitter banned him from his account. It’s a move that came shortly after an anti-Jewish post by the rapper on Instagram caused that account to be restricted.

Days before, he appeared with far-right pundit Candace Owens flaunting “White Lives Matter” T-shirts during Paris Fashion Week. thou later told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that he thought wearing the shirt was “funny”. According to the League against defamation“White Lives Matter” is a “white supremacist expression” popular with the Aryan Renaissance Society, the Ku Klux Klan, and other hate groups.

It should be clear to everyone that the Ye, who once said on national TV that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” about the former president’s disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina, is no more. As a former fan, I have to accept that as a fact.

And I wish others who once loved him for being a cultural trendsetter in music, fashion, and even self-confidence would do the same. This includes stopping asking for the “old Kanye” back. In doing so, he skates dangerously close to exonerating him from his harmful behavior in the present.

This isn’t to say I don’t understand the yearning for the Ye of the early 2000s. For me he was one of the good ones. He was handsome, smart and dripping with style. Like me, Ye was a son of the South. He was born in Georgia; I was born in Texel. We were both raised by strong black single mothers.

But fueled by ego and self-deception, the artist has morphed from a creative genius with new visions of Blackness’s future to a purveyor of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and an apologist for white supremacy.

While he has transformed into this new version of himself, we have not been able to take our eyes and ears away from him, even when his once magnetic energy became manic. It’s like the way we slow down to stare at car accidents. Some people have attributed this downward spiral to his bipolar disorder or his inability to process his mother’s death, Donda West, in 2007. My own mother passed away the year before. I felt like the whole world was collapsing. So I understand the utter sadness and grief that losing the most important person in your life can cause. But whatever the reason, his current toxic behavior is inexcusable.

The producers of Lebron James’ online talk show ‘The Shop’ recently discovered this. On Tuesday it was announced that an episode with Ye would not be broadcast. The reason? Ye used the show “to repeat more hateful language and extremely dangerous stereotypes,” according to Maverick Carter, CEO of SpringHill Company, which produces the show. After Ye was booked for the show weeks in advance, Carter said he spoke to Ye the day before filming and “believed he was capable of respectful discussion and ready to answer any of his recent comments.”

Needless to say, Carter was wrong. It’s a clear example of how Ye keeps getting opportunities – I guess because people yearn to get back the version of him that once meant so much to the black community – only to have him prove to us (again) that he doesn’t deserve it. . The only way to talk about such a person is to be critical without portraying him as ‘profound’ or ‘freethinker’. That means don’t give him the benefit of the doubt on any platform or industry (I don’t care how good you think his clothes or music are).

My love for Ye started in 2004 with the release of his first album, ‘The College Dropout’. It made even a straitlaced goody-two-shoes person like me feel, if not totally cool, at least adjacent cool. His lyrics were downright emotional, beautiful in their dexterity and showed new possibilities for what rap could be.

You keep getting opportunities – I guess because people yearn to get back the version of him that once meant so much to the black community – to have him prove (again) that he doesn’t deserve it.

But the Ye who rapped “I want to talk to God, but I’m afraid because we haven’t spoken in so long” on his first album is no more. Let’s stop looking for him.

I say this as someone who has tried it. I pushed aside my nausea after Ye grabbed Taylor Swift’s microphone to rant about Beyoncé at the 2009 MTV Music Awards. After his 2013 performance at the wedding of the grandson of the authoritarian president of Kazakhstan, I went on again. In 2016, when his album “Life of Pablo” came out days after he tweeted his support for Bill Cosby, accused of sexual assault by more than 50 women, I still sang the lyrics to the album’s song “I Love Kanye.”

The song opens with “I miss the old Kanye, straight from the go Kanye. Chop the soul Kanye to pieces, put on his goals Kanye.” In the beginning, I sang the lyrics in hopes that the “old Kanye” who once had such a hopeful swagger would return, that he would get past his ego and be born again as the creative powerhouse whose every move we anticipate with anticipation. instead of fear followed . Then I recited the lines wistfully, losing hope as Ye continued to fall.

What followed was things like he said “slavery is a choice” in a 2018 interview with TMZ. Later that year he took pictures with a “Make America Great Again” hat with Donald Trump and flirted with increasingly bizarre propaganda. Now I can no longer bear to listen to that song or any other he made.

Kanye has gotten caught up in everything he’s ever railed against. Instead of challenging racism in all its forms, he falls deeper into its cesspool. He has become like a fairground barker spreading anti-Semitic lies and providing entertainment to bigots. We must stop talking about Ye in general as a musician, fashion designer and artist, but we must continue to speak loudly against the hatred he uses to sow his massive platform.

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