The Problem with Kanye

By David Wilson

What I find problematic is how white people, white supremacists especially, often feel like black celebrities speak for the whole race of black people. As such, they derive much of what they believe about black people from rappers, singers, athletes or images of black people they see portrayed by the media or in music. The problem with Kanye is he has not learned how to use his platform and influence responsibly or correctly, and people will use his words to support their beliefs. Case and point, the Republican National Committee used his tweets to fundraise.

There is nothing genius about what Kanye is saying or doing right now. He is an example of how not being responsible with power, platform and influence looks like. He is the antithesis of Colin Kaepernick, or our excitement about the Black Panther movie, Barack Obama, or the two young black men who were arrested for waiting in Starbucks donating $200,000 of their settlement to start an entrepreneur program for Philadelphia’s youth.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but some people cannot distinguish opinion from a statement of fact. Reducing slavery to a choice lends itself to white supremacists’ arguments that black people are the inferior, subservient race. You suggest that slaves were not smart enough to know they could be free if they chose to be. But to that end, if it were only matter of choice, Harriet Tubman could have led slaves to freedom, walking out the front gate rather than taking the Underground Railroad.

It is so important to understand the consequence of words. If you need to be controversial or exhibit your willful ignorance and lack of education to promote yourself, you need to find a new craft. You should be able to allow your work to speak for itself. Free thought and speech are essential, but to say everything you think is irresponsible and reckless. Some might think Kanye is creating necessary buzz for his next project, but how much is publicity worth, your soul, blackness, and dignity? I hope Kanye takes a step back and sees the harm his words have done to our community and make atonement for the damage he has done. We have to continue to call him out and hold him accountable.