The Internet Is On Fire: Kanye West


Jules Hopkins, Features Co-Editor

DISCLAIMER: This article contains crass discussions of racism, antisemitism, and related subjects. The quotes in this article do not represent the beliefs of the Chronicle.

Kanye West is a renowned rapper and fashion designer. His songs have won him 22 grammy awards, a record for rappers which he shares with Jay-Z. However, among these amazing achievements are his controversial and public sharing of opinions over topics of racism and religion have led to Adidas cutting their contract with him, which cost him millions of dollars. The internet is on fire again; here is your rundown of what’s happening.

Ye has long since been a pillar of modern music. Since his debut album, “The College Dropout” in 2004, he has continued to shape music as we know it today. His experimentation with music, especially at the time, was new to the music field.

The recent controversies with Ye were kickstarted on October 3rd when he wore a “White Lives Matter” shirt to a Yeezy fashion show in Paris alongside political personality Candance Owen. The rapper defended his actions by saying “[His father] thought the shirt was a funny shirt … Just a black man stating the obvious.” Other models during the show were also spotted wearing the shirt. The shirts sparked backlash from celebrities and fans alike. Shortly after the event, Ye posted on his Instagram account that “Everyone knows that Black Lives Matter was a scam now it’s over you’re welcome.”

On October 7th, Instagram banned Ye after he suggested that fellow rapper Puff Daddy was being controlled by the Jewish. In response, the man posted on Twitter that he was “going defcon 3 on Jewish people.” This resulted in his Twitter account also being banned. Unfortunately, antisemitism is not new to Ye. In 2013, Ye claimed that the reason Former President Barack Obama was struggling to push policies in congress was “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people … We don’t get family that got money like that.” Nearly a month later he would tell a Chicago radio station that “I thought I was giving a compliment… I don’t know how being told you have money is an insult.”

The biggest pusher was when Vice released unaired segments on October 11th from an interview Ye did with conservative television host Tucker Carlson. In these segments, Ye claimed that Planned Parenthood was created by the Ku Klux Klan “to control the [Jewish] population.” He then said that “When I say [Jewish], I mean the 12 lost tribes of Judah, the blood of Christ, who the people known as the race Black really are.” He also stated discomfort with the school his children were attending because it celebrated Kwanzaa. “I prefer my kids knew Hanukkah than Kwanzaa. At least it will come with some financial engineering.” These clips were all cut from the original Fox News interview.

On October 22nd, a Neo-Nazi group hung a banner saying “Kanye is right about the Jews.” while doing a Nazi salute above a highway overpass. In an interview with CNN, several unnamed sources who worked closely with Ye described their discomfort with his “obsession” with Hitler. One executive claimed that “ [Ye]  spoke openly about reading “Mein Kampf,” Hitler’s 1925 autobiographical manifesto, and expressed his “admiration” for the Nazis and Hitler for their use of propaganda.” Four separate sources told CNN that Ye had originally suggested the title “Hitler” for his 2018 album. All sources cited retribution and/or confidentiality agreements as their reason for remaining anonymous.

Since being banned on Twitter, Ye has announced that he has come to an agreement with far-right social network Parler for acquisition. Vogue, Gap, Balenciaga, and Adidas have all cut relations (scholarships, collaborations, etc.) with Ye. This means that his $1.5 billion sneaker brand deal, Yeezys, is no longer active. Forbes, a business website famous for tracking net worth, says that due to companies cutting ties, Ye is no longer a billionaire. His estimated net worth is $400 million, a large drop from the previously estimated 2 billion dollars. His wealth now relies on “cash, real estate, the value of his music catalog, and a 5% stake in his ex-wife Kim Kardashian West’s shapewear brand Skims.”

His behavior, as former fan Spencer Bengston said, “I always chalked it up to he’s off his medication.” For those unaware, Ye was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016. This means he experiences mood swings to the extreme: manic highs and depressive lows. The disorder is treated with medication but Ye is often known for going off them. However, this disorder does not change the way a person thinks. It simply pushes said thinking to the extreme. Mental illness does not excuse behavior. Spencer said, “now that he is doubling down and is saying twice as many very bad things, I am taking a hiatus from his music.” This stance is one that many fans feel is appropriate, with several saying that his legacy feels tarnished. Spencer however said “he’s made so many great pieces of art and music…I do think those pieces of music …can be regarded as separate but I don’t think that consuming them while paying the artist is ethically responsible.”