This post is an open letter to anyone who is against the attendance of Kanye West at Ottawa, Ontario’s annual Bluesfest Music Festival this year.
Let us begin. Kanye West was born on June 8th 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia. His father, Ray West, was one of the former Black Panthers and the first ever black photojournalist at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His mother, Dr. Donca C. Williams West, was an English Professor at the Clark Atlanta University, as well as the Chair of English Department at the Chicago State University. His parents divorced when he was only 3 years old and he moved in with his mother to Chicago, Illinois. For those arguing about his so called shady background, I present to you, receipts. Let us carry on shall we? Mr. West attended the Polaris High School in Illinois before moving to Nanjing, China at the age of 10; West’s mother was asked to teach at the Nanjing University as a part of an exchange program. Continuing on, Mr. West wrote his first poem and began rapping at the age of 5. By the time he was in the seventh grade, Mr. West had begun composing his own music. For those who like to claim he is new to the game, or that he simply bought his way to the top, more receipts. Sip your teas ladies and gentlemen. Moving on. In 1997, Mr. West accepted his scholarship to attend Chicago’s American Academy of Art; where he learned the art of painting before transferring to the Chicago State University to pursue English literature. This part is for those claiming he is uneducated. Furthermore, Kanye West has produced smash hit singles for artists like Common, Ludacris, Cam’Ron, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, and much more. Most recently Mr. West remixed New Zealand artist, Lorde, famous track “Yellow Flicker Beat,” featured on “The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1” soundtrack. Lest we forget his Grammys. Yet, never has he won against a white counterpart… so let us discuss race.
Here is something you should know in case you do not. The media uses stereotypes when discussing an individual and/or group, so as to appeal to the mass audience they are addressing. Why do they use stereotypes? Stereotypes are what we know and what we can easily understand. Unfortunately, in the media’s constant framing of stories via stereotypes, it continuously perpetuates/advances false beliefs of certain individuals and/or groups of people. This occurs in news, infotainment, advertising, popular culture, and in our everyday discussions. Christians are seen as anti gay (even though not all Christians are anti gay), Muslims are labelled as terrorists (even though religion has nothing to do with terrorism), and then black men are labelled as angry, defiant, uncontrollable, animalistic, creatures. Kendrick Lamar said it best in his song “The Blacker The Berry,” featured on his new album “To Pimp A Butterfly.” In the words of Mr. Lamar, “I want you to realize that I am a proud monkey.” These stereotypes are nothing new and they are recycled throughout history. The media frames black men in this light because they know how easily recognizable it is with the masses they are addressing. But, it is then internalized negatively by the masses they are addressing. Just as some individuals lash out and resort to hate crimes targeting Muslims whenever there is a “terror” attack, so do certain individuals (my readers know who I am referring to), lash out and demonize black men when they are the victim. We have seen it with Michael Brown, we have seen it with Eric Garner, we have seen it with Martese Johnson. Yet, we did not see it with TJ Lane, we did not see it with the SAE Student (who the media chose to not release his name), and we have not seen it with Andrea Lubitz. I am simply stating these facts for you to go out and do your own research. Compare how the media frames black versus white individuals. See it for yourself. It does not help us to sit here and argue in the comment section. Simply go out, do your research, and return with proof. But, you dislike Kanye West because you internalized the way the media frames black men as demons. What? Yes, I went there.
When you think of a real nigga, what do you picture? Probably a man (or woman) who is extremely “hood,” “ghetto,” “thug like,” loud, rude, anti revolutionary, dominant, and definitely in your face. The words in quotes are racial slurs (in case you use them to describe black individuals, stop now). I should say that whenever I say “white people,” I am referring to those individuals who have yet to understand racial biases and racism in general. So, white people, you like black men (or not), but you definitely do not like the nigga side of black men. The nigga side of black men is that side that is as described above. Now, I posted the two videos above to dissect it a bit. In the first video, Kanye West was invited back to Jimmy Kimmel and is expressing the views many of us express. Although embedded and benefitting and perpetuating the capitalist system, Mr. West at the same time tries to aid those not on the benefitting side. For those calling Kanye West egotistic, he is simply a man who has figured out what you have not. Advertising sells you what could be. It does not and never has sold us products. It tells you, you are imperfect and so to be perfect, here, consume this product. Mr. West says no. I am perfect without that product. He claims himself as a genius (he is not Jesus like) but a genius nonetheless. In the second video with Sway, Mr. West is furious over how hard it was for him to enter the fashion business. You cannot tell me you have never been in a situation where you know you deserve something, and yet, keep getting shut out. Kanye West put his all into the fashion industry and was voicing – maybe not the way you wanted – his frustration. Simply put, if Kanye West was a white male and expressive as he is, it would be ignored. You see, politicians and CEOs make money for doing exactly what Mr. West does.
The above video is just further proving my words on advertising and how it influences our thinking. I don’t think I need to show you examples of the demonization of black men? If you require that please leave a comment and I will add it but I mean… turn on the news.
Am I tripping? Maybe I am. But, Kanye West cares incredibly for his family and speaks highly of every single one of them, at any given moment. He is also incredibly talented and Ottawa is incredibly lucky to be able to see him live. So what if he does not smile for the camera? Paparazzis show up to his house at 2am in the morning (click here). I would develop a non smiling attitude as well. The media know how to push his buttons and frame him as a pure bred nigga. I want express that nigga is not bad but it is framed as something we must shame and put down. Just as when Justin Bieber gained nigga like qualities and the media literally termed it as such. Many labelled Bieber as a thug. A racial slur. Just as when Charlie Sheen called Rihanna a “village rat.” I mean, I could sit here for hours and spew out more and more facts but at some point you need to ask yourself, what really do I know about Kanye West? Sure, he believes in artistry. Sure yes, taking someone’s award on stage is wrong (although I understand his frustration), but, what else? How many celebrities have done much worse and have been forgiven. You need to really sit down and ask yourself, where does this hatred stem from? I bet my money darling, race definitely plays a role. I’ll see you all May 1st after finals! xx
Source(s) Used: http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/kanye-west-3939.php