Kanye has been on a tear this year.
The rapper, once heralded for his wokeness, has aligned with Pres Trump in order to spark a conversation. At least that’s what he says. In the past 6 months, Ye has dropped some bombs on a black community that seemingly loves him. Loved him. However, he’s quickly falling into canceled mode. Some of the hits on the Black MAGA Album include 400 years? Sounds Like a Choice, Abolish the 13th Amendment, and Free Thinking is a Superpower.
Ye has always been a polarizing figure. From his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift to claiming to he’s a rock star to calling himself a god (small g because we all know), people have been split on him. He’s a musical genius, but loves attention. Through all of that, Ye remained strong in his stance on the black community. Treat us with respect. This message has taken quite a turn causing most black folks to cancel Ye. The days of College Dropout have been exchanged for a red MAGA hat and canoodling with Pres Trump. It’s a far cry from the days of “George Bush doesn’t like black people.” Yet, Ye wouldn’t have it any other way. He says what he wants with no repercussions.
He’s a free thinker.
I’ve had many a conversation with people who have no clue about the intricacies of race, racism, and race relations (it really is unproductive in the “My opinion is important” society). These folks have suddenly welcomed Ye as a woken warrior for MAGA justice. One of those interesting conversations occurred last week.
I posted this picture on Facebook with the caption “Think freely guys.”
This picture is hilarious!
For those who have seen Django Unchained, then you know what I’m talking about. For those who are unaware, watch the movie and make the connections.
To the conversation.
The prevailing consensus on the responses I received is Kanye spoke his mind and is being attacked for it. We should not ridicule Kanye for doing so.
Let’s back up.
Ye has been ridiculed his entire career for making bold statements. Ironically, his ridicule came from the same people who are lauding him today (Remember the “George Bush doesn’t like black people” phase?). That’s what happens when one a) has a cursory knowledge of racism and b) views said knowledge solely through a political vacuum. Furthermore, people like Colin Kaepernick and Lebron James have been outspoken in regards to America’s treatment of people of color and President Trump. The response? “Stick to sports! That’s the wrong time to protest! What have you done for your community? Black people need to take accountability for themselves!” Etcetera. Etcetera.
Here we have two black athletes who have invested millions of dollars in their communities. Because their message doesn’t line up with the conservative view it’s ridiculed and disregarded. They only way one can be free is if “they remove the shackles of the democratic plantation“ while simultaneously ignoring conservatives want you to think a certain way as well. Bear in mind, these are the same people who routinely denounce bringing up the ugly history of America to sell progression (i.e. black people please forget about slavery, the reconstruction period, Jim Crow, the War on Drugs, and how it affects systemic racism today. Ok? Thanks!). Why is LeBron and Colin’s message, their actions, any less important than Kanye’s?
This is the illusion of free thought for a black man in America, and it has been for centuries.
African-American thinking has been heavily influenced by white European/American culture. To this day, this is a side effect of slavery and the politics of race. Politicians realize the black vote is one of the most important groups (especially African-American women). Yet, most politicians only care enough to get the vote. Once they are in office, coming through with promises seems scarce. My problem with the idea of free thought is the same conservative base that is now welcoming Kanye with open arms will throw him away as soon as he stops playing the good negro role. They are using him.
Still, in 2018, black people are supposed to know their place.
I will concede that black people are expected to act, dress, speak, and think a particular way. Some of us will ridicule our own to no end for not being down for the cause. At the same time, the cause is truth. Equal treatment under the law. Not acknowledging the cause doesn’t make it any less true nor does it mean you think freely.
It only means blissful ignorance.