Kanye West has put himself in the crossfires of public damnation once more. Recently, he tweeted support for Donald Trump, calling the two “dragon energy,” which caused many fans to lose respect for the rapper.
Like West, Shania Twain recently lost a lot of support from fans after she told The Guardian that she “would have voted for [Trump] because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest.”
“Do you want straight or polite?” she asked. “Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bulls**t. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation for not being that, right?” She later apologized for her comments, saying that she actually doesn’t share Trump’s moral views, but it was too late; fans swiftly cut her out of their lives.
For West, though, it was different. Criticisms had already arisen regarding his political stance, as he had caused an uproar in Dec. 2016 when he met with Trump following the White House transition. Many fans claimed that moment was the last straw for them, but a majority of West supporters continued to champion the musician and chose to simply look the other way.
Recently, though, the leniency that West has become accustomed to receiving from his fans has begun to wear thin. Starting with a slew of controversial tweets, which then led to a handful of inflammatory interviews, including one with Charlemagne Tha God and then one with TMZ, West has begun to alienate even his most die-hard fans.
While Kanye lovers are used to a fair share of melodrama, his latest antics have drawn much more disapproval than usual. The question is, though: What makes Kanye’s antagonism more acceptable than that of others? Is it the way he doesn’t back down, or is it the explanations that he offers — flawed though they may be — that others fail to present?
A few days later, Kanye explained himself, saying, “You don’t have to agree with Trump, but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.”
However, despite the blowback that West experienced after expressing support for Trump, he declines to explicitly support Trump’s political policies, instead merely pointing out parallels between the two firebrands’ “dragon energy.” As some have queried on Twitter, does this type of character support equate to political endorsement?
Several fellow celebrity friends of Kanye, however, interpreted his tweets as support and questioned him about it. West posted a screenshot of a conversation he had with “All of Me” singer John Legend. Legend asked West to “reconsider aligning [himself] with Trump. So many people who love you feel so betrayed right now because they know the harm that Trump’s policies cause.”
West replied, “I love you John and I appreciate your thoughts. You bringing up my fans or my legacy is a tactic based on fear used to manipulate my free thought.”
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 26, 2018
The two ended the text conversation on laughs and love, as that seems to be West’s new philosophy, which perhaps could explain why many are disagreeing but not abandoning his fan base, as other celebrities, such as Twain, have experienced.
His supporters’ steadfastness has even bothered the many fans of West’s enemies. For example, Taylor Swift fans, who continue to look for insight as to why people hate on Swift and not West, have expressed their concerns.
A musician and friend of Swift’s, Todrick Hall, tweeted, “I love how all the peeps who said Miss Swift stole from Beyoncé went MIA when the video came out and wasn’t even remotely Beyoncé-esque & how the people that said she ‘probably voted for Trump’ are now silent when Kanye is out leading the Trump parade. Cat got your tongue?”
The acerbic tweet further underscored the question of why some people are okay with agreeing to disagree with certain celebrities and not with others.
Recently, West released a song, “Ye vs. the People,” defending his support for Trump. With a feature from fellow rapper T.I., West can be heard rapping lyrics like, “I know Obama was Heaven sent, but ever since Trump won, it proved that I could be president,” and “Make America Great Again had a negative reception. I took it, wore it, rocked it, gave it a new direction. Added empathy, care and love and affection, and y’all simply questionin’ my methods.”
The conviction of belief that West has always exemplified has been something that fans have long affiliated with him. For years, people said things like, “Kanye will do what Kanye wants to do,” or “Kanye will be Kanye.” However, there is another hypothesis. Some Twitter luminaries have proposed that West’s relationship with Kim Kardashian may be to blame for his erratic behavior.
The Kardashian-Jenner family, who are all Democrats except Caitlyn Jenner, has been accused of ruining West’s mental stability. Recently, Kim Kardashian took a stand on Twitter and defended her husband despite not agreeing with his opinions about Trump.
Though the rapper has publicly stated his desire to move on from a world full of hate to a world of love, it seems many aren’t following. Artist Chance the Rapper tweeted, “Black people don’t have to be Democrats,” but made it very clear that he only spoke up for West because he didn’t feel comfortable with people questioning West’s mental health.
West’s controversial rapport with the current president of the United States wouldn’t be the first time the rapper has gained attention for all the wrong reasons. On TMZ Live, West stated that 400 years of slavery sounded like a choice, which stirred up plenty of outrage.
In response to West’s incendiary comment, people took to social media to voice their disapproval, with some jokingly creating the hashtag #SlaveryIsAChoice. Others, however, are merely saddened by his apparent mental illness.
After Kanye’s comments on slavery, he asked TMZ employee Van Lathan whether he thought he (Kanye) was thinking free. Lathan responded, “I think what you’re doing right now is actually the absence of thought and while you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you’ve earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives.
“We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said, for our people, was a choice. Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled and, brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something, to me, that’s not real.”
If anything positive has come out of West’s “free thinking,” it is the fact that the whole situation has opened the public’s eyes regarding how they treat certain celebrities they once adored. The only thing one can do now is wait and see what happens next. From Shania Twain to Logan and Jake Paul to Taylor Swift, West isn’t the first celebrity to stoke the flames — nor will he be the last.