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Kanye West.

Just the name evokes imagery, depending on your social, economic and racial leanings, the imagery will change.

I have always been a very vocal supporter of Kanye West and I’ve never heard anyone argue against him with any actual evidence. Every criticism is a parrot of a larger media outlet, trickle down criticism from the top to the little people at the bottom. It seems to be that people would rather just go with the flow rather than think for themselves. If you hate Kanye West, ask yourself why. Then ask yourself why you are so easily lead to hate someone who you don’t even know. Either you are ignorant of rap music or you appreciate the fact that West is by far one of the most talented producers and beat makers alive today.

In a world where so few are brave enough to speak, why do we condemn a man who is arrogant and vocal about his opinions? You don’t have to agree with his opinions, you are free to make up your own mind. I am not even trying to tell you to like the man, I am just pointing out that the standards other people set on someone should not be your own standards. Determine your own standards, because the ones dictated by the media and government almost always end up historically wrong and offensive.

I remember growing up in the 80’s and everyone wanted to be Michael Jackson. Leather jackets and hair relaxer were everywhere. Then the 90’s came and suddenly rap music was everywhere and the ghetto style took over almost every facet of black culture, spreading into even the upper levels of white culture. The style showed no signs of going away until Kanye West. Suddenly, there was a new role model on the scene, one who wore pink and cardigans and all kinds of things that were not considered part of “black culture”. Kanye’s fashioned turned racial clothing into something else, he redefined what a man could wear, especially a black man. For that alone, he has a place in history.

As for his controversies, let’s start with the most recent. The Confederate Flag. It is offensive for a black man to wear a symbol people identify with racism? Obviously it is a little weird, but as Kanye said “It’s my flag now.”
He appropriated it to his style and used it to market his products. Since I am not a Southern Gentleman and have no real connection to the flag I just don’t see how it matters one way or the other.

We’ve become so spoiled and rotten by big corporations that we expect our musicians and actors to be meek, we expect our writers and musicians to be grateful and play the same damn songs or write the same damn characters every single time. We expect them to love what we love, to be who we expect them to be, to dance when we say dance. It’s turned all entertainment into a strange form of minstrel show. How much time each day, how many hours of our lives are spent arguing or criticizing celebrities we’ve never met?

I don’t know Miley Cyrus and I don’t care how she acts. I don’t know Kanye West and I don’t care about his opinions. Which is why I don’t spread my opinions about them, because nobody cares about my opinion either. But we think because we have a blog, or a website, or a wordpress site that we somehow have a captive audience that cares how we feel about strangers. That is the primary reason I am getting off Facebook because everyone shares the same ignorant opinions over and over, spreading the same nonsense or propaganda without verifying facts or coming to their own conclusions.

Honestly, how many people give a shit about Taylor Swift? She’s not my daughter, what do I care if he hurt her feelings? I could pretend to care, to garner a few likes on Facebook, but that is not how I live my life. I am an honest person and I believe Kanye is too. You might not like what he has to say, but at least he is speaking his own mind. I’d rather a world full of Kanyes than a world full of sheep.

Our envy of celebrity culture has gotten us to the point where we not only want what they have, but we want them to be who we are. We want them to be idolized versions of us, people without views, who do not offend, who do not feel too strongly. We’ve become complacent and even worse, we are outraged and offended by anyone who deviates, who is opinionated, who is not broken into submission. We no longer praise the free people and try to escape our chains, instead we break them down to enslave them next to us.

You know who won best new artist against Kanye a decade ago?

Gretchen Wilson.

I have no clue who that even is. So maybe he was right to be pissed. Nobody speaks for you but you. Nobody has to do anything and anything that people do for our culture, whether it is make music, write books or take pictures, is a gift to our culture. My enjoyment of his music isn’t determined by his treatment of paparazzi. I don’t ignore his faults, I just concern myself more with my own.

How can you be offended by people you’ve never even met? Who have never wronged you personally? The thing I love about Kanye West is I know when he talks, he is talking from his heart. Not on behalf of his sponsors, not for his company or record label or because he was couched or threatened. He is a free man and whenever he does something that has nothing to do with me or my enjoyment of his music, I ignore it.

There are more than enough bad guys in the world, why do we hound celebrities? It’s never mattered to me what Stephen King named his children or who Anne Rice is sleeping with, why do we have different standards for different types of celebrities? We’ve created so many levels of contradicting expectations that it is no wonder people are throwing all of them off and doing whatever the hell they like. In a world where women can’t be abusers and racism against white people doesn’t exist, how can we even judge any type of behavior anymore? We can’t, all we can do is make sure we’re following the standards we put out there for others. How can I judge Kanye West? How can I judge a teenage girl like Miley Cyrus? Just because a hundred people might agree doesn’t validate my opinions of either of them, should I make a point of posting them. Which I won’t, because this blog has taken enough time away from writing already.

Create art, share it and when they come to criticize you, to mold you, tell them how you feel, Kanye style.