“My music isn’t just music — it’s medicine.” This quote was said by none other than the titular rapper and fashionista, Kanye West. He was once known as “Yeezy” and revered for his music. In the current day, most people are familiar with “Ye” the rapper who proudly boasts his love and support for President Donald Trump. It leads one to wonder, how on earth did this come to be?
West has always been political. The beginning of some of his bold statements can be dated back to 2005, during a televised celebrity fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina when Kanye West said on live television beside Mike Myers, “Bush doesn’t care about black people.” In 2009, not long after West hijacked Taylor Swift’s Video Music Awards (VMAS) acceptance speech, then-president Barack Obama called West a “jackass” while getting ready for a CNBC interview. In 2015, at the end of his acceptance speech for his own award at the VMAS, he said, “And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”
Fast forward to 2018 and you’ll find a statement from West on his Twitter account reading,”You don’t have to agree with trump but the mob can’t make me not love him.” This controversial tweet posted on Apr. 25, 2018, set the public ablaze with shock. This isn’t the first event in the lengthy timeline of the Trump and Kanye interactions. Prior to this public display of adoration for President Trump, the rapper publicly endorsed him at a San Jose concert during the 2016 Saint Pablo tour. “Voting for Trump don’t mean that I don’t think that black lives matter; that don’t mean I don’t believe in women’s rights, that don’t mean that I don’t believe in gay marriage, that don’t mean I don’t believe in these things because that was the guy I would’ve voted for,” the rapper contended.
Recently, Kanye West has made a series of television appearances defending his stance on Trump. One of them being his controversial visit to TMZ in May 2018, where he purported that “slavery was a choice” and that “when he was running, it’s like I felt something. The fact that he won, it proves something. It proves that anything is possible in America. Donald Trump can be president of America. I’m not talking about what he’s done since he’s in office. But the fact that he was able to do it.”
Just when one could’ve thought that there was no higher level of insanity that Kanye West could achieve, he exceeded all of our expectations during his Oval Office visit this past October. He went onto discredit his bipolar disorder diagnosis, speak on his defiance of the 13th amendment, boast about his IQ and his support of Trump’s initiatives, leading Trump to state, “He can speak for me anytime he wants. He’s been a great guy, he’s a smart cookie, smart. He gets it.”
All of this public controversy has caused severe fallout to his reputation. Since many fans of the rap genre are liberal leaning, some would say his antics are alienating his audience. Sophomore physics major Victoria Lombardi went on to say, “It’s sad how most of our generation grew up listening to our music, then all these events happen breaking the great image he used to hold.” Junior math and secondary education major Hanae Elmanasir agreed, stating, “I honestly think he’s out of his mind for supporting Trump, an individual who doesn’t seem to like minorities. Additionally, Kanye said that slavery was an option, which totally goes against history. This is unacceptable to be so dismissive of what African Americans went through”.
One should note that Kanye West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, has not commented on her husband’s political ideology. Kanye West’s reputation has certainly gone through some dramatic turning points. Ultimately, his reputation can be arguably be seen as tarnished, even considering his impressive musical career.