Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Problems Arise with Kanye West’s Ego

Illustration by Lya Hernandez

My seventh-grade self will always defend Kanye West. His Late Registration was the first album on my first iPod, and I have stuck with the guy ever since. While he still creates brilliant music, West’s role in the public conscience has gone from gifted artist to ridiculous diva, and the shame is that we don’t recognize the relationship between the two.

From saying that George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people to protesting Taylor Swift’s VMA win, West has gotten himself in numerous snafus due to his strong sense of right and wrong and his lack of sense of when and when not to speak, traits that were famously parodied with “South Park”‘s portrayal of West. This limitless audacity and honesty has led to West’s most embarrassing public moments, but has also led to his music career. Kanye has put himself out there and taken one chance after the next, remaking the sound of hip-hop as a producer, re-defining what a rapper can rap about and even singing for an entire album despite being a terrible singer. West embarrasses himself as a celebrity for the same reasons he is a great artist. One goes with the other.

West has been in the news recently because of his interview with BBC that touched on such subjects as leather jogging pants, and the subsequent feud with Jimmy Kimmel when Kimmel made fun of the interview. Kanye trusts us too much. He thinks that we try to understand what he is trying to say, when really we are nitpicking for his next sound bite that we can laugh at. Who cares if West makes an interesting point about racial inequality or artistic frustration when we can make fun of him for wanting to design water bottles?

That was what was most concerning about West’s feud with Kimmel. West opened up and then snapped at Kimmel when he taunted Kanye for his very honest interview. West is at his best when at his most vulnerable, as shown in his latest album, the raw and raging Yeezus. The more we poke fun at him, the closer he gets to closing us off. And a silent Kanye is the worst Kanye we could have.

At their core, Kanye’s statements are fairly normal. He is a guy who is upset with injustice and is frustrated when he is unable to carry out his ambitions. These are things that people talk about all the time. The only difference is that Kanye does it with the world listening, while average people like me just whine to their roommates. He lives in the cold stratosphere of celebrity, but he hasn’t lost the ability to feel passionately about things, which is something to be appreciated.

That being said, Kanye does and says a lot of ridiculous stuff, and it’s all right to laugh at them. While we laugh, we at least have to recognize why Kanye does the things he does, and that’s because he still cares and wants to offer his creativity to the world. Let’s hope he keeps doing so –– my seventh-grade self can’t wait for his next album.

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