I believe we are reaching the end of the Kanye West era.
I recognize this statement may sound absurd to most people who constantly hear about Kanye’s well-publicized family life and have seen him shut down the Internet with his various outbursts and cringe-worthy faux pas. And for those who have heard his music and followed his unparalleled ascent to stardom, his impact on the game is undeniable. He is a self-proclaimed musical genius with a keen fashion sense.
Why, then, do I believe the Kanye West Era is dying? Because it’s 2016, and it is about time we as a generation wake up. Kanye West has made too mistakes and we cannot forgive him any longer. He is not the drunk uncle at the family reunion that we can laugh at and apologize for because he “means well.” Let’s stop turning a blind eye to Kanye West’s blatant sexism and misogyny.
Quick history lesson for you: Kanye West used to date model, author and women’s rights activist Amber Rose in the late 2000s. When their relationship ended, Amber went on to date fellow rapper Wiz Khalifa, with whom she has a two-year-old son. Last year, Kanye said in an interview with New York City’s “The Breakfast Club” radio show that he had to take “30 showers” after his relationship with Amber before he could be with Kim, implicitly shaming Amber for her sexuality. Some people side-eyed the Chicago rapper but on the whole, this offensive remark did little to damage his public image.
Things got a little worse two weeks ago when Kanye tweeted the then-name of his new album, Waves, and received backlash from Wiz Khalifa, who claimed Kanye took the name Waves from another rapper. Unfortunately, Kanye West does not handle anyone other than Kanye West’s criticism of Kanye West. Misinterpreting another one of Khalifa’s tweets and falsely believing it was about Kim Kardashian, Kanye exploded in a Twitter rage for the ages.
Though he tackled a lot of topics in his rant, which spanned over 20 tweets directed at the “See You Again” rapper, a few tweets really troubled me. Kanye seemed to focus on Amber Rose, claiming that Wiz let a stripper trap him, that Wiz wouldn’t have a child if it wasn’t for him and that he owns Wiz and Amber’s son. The idea that Kanye could somehow own their child or that he is even responsible for Amber’s success is one of the most unbelievably sexist things I have ever heard. Noting her past as a stripper is something he has done far too often without retribution, but his series of tweets to Wiz Khalifa crossed too many lines.
I’ve always considered myself a fan of Kanye West’s music. His ear for melody and rhythm has inspired a whole subgenre of rap that could have never existed without him. He has pushed rap music forward and opened up doors for dozens of our favorite artists. I respect his artistic vision, and I’m sure his newest album will help someone get through tough times. But I can no longer as a free-thinking and decent individual continue to support this man.
Hip-hop has historically had issues with sexism; it is hard to think of a popular rapper who at some point has not said something that rubs me the wrong way. But this does not make Kanye West’s remarks okay. It actually makes them worse. He has named himself the greatest artist of all time and the voice of a generation, but you have to question for what purpose he uses his platform. How can you be the greatest artist of all time and continue to show hate toward women? How many more awards shows can we allow this man to interrupt? How much longer are we going to allow Kanye to use his platform to tear women down?
I, for one, can no longer accept it. I will no longer laugh along with the millions of twitter users as Kanye promulgates the American patriarchy. I will no longer look in the face of hatred and sexism and chalk it up as “well that’s just Kanye!” I will no longer buy his music.
I believe we are reaching the end of the Kanye West era. G.O.O.D. Riddance.
Daniel Breland is a junior in the McDonough School of Business.
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