Brandon Wetherbee is the host of the You, Me, Them, Everybody talk show. See him Friday, September 4 at The Wonderland Ballroom. He will most likely talk about Kanye West.
What do you think of Kanye West? That’s the question I ask everyone. Interview subject, potential co-worker, friend, acquaintance, family member, everyone. It’s not a trick question, it’s an excellent litmus test.
What do you think of Kanye West? The typical answer tends to dismiss the artist*. He’s an egomaniac is the response I hear most. He’s a jackass and he’s a joke are the second and third most popular. The obvious follow up is why.
He’s an egomaniac because of what he did to Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs. Young people are offended because the black man took the mic from the white woman at the sacred institution aired annually on MTV. I ask them if they thought Kanye was right. I have yet to meet a person that remembers what Kanye said. He said the Beyoncé video “Single Ladies” was one of the greatest videos of all time. He was right. No one disagrees with what he said. Kanye was right. Kanye and Taylor continue to be right by milking this incident for the last 6 years. See last Sunday for proof.
He’s a jackass because he appears in music videos with his topless wife. So? So why does that make him a jackass? He’s doing exactly what he said he was going to do and is doing it while wearing two flannel shirts. He’s the only artist that’s able to make people upset by parading a heteronormative relationship in music video form.
He’s a joke because he’s on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Why is it funny to cash in? Control the narrative and make some money while doing it. It being living. Not acting or performing, just living. Why not?
On September 2, 2005 A Concert For Hurricane Relief aired on NBC. Celebrities from across the cultural spectrum appeared on the Red Cross fundraiser. The highlight for most people and the low point of the George W. Bush Presidency was Kanye West’s appearance. Kanye spoke off script next to an extremely nervous Mike Meyers. The Huffington Post recently published an extensive story on the event. I highly recommend taking some time today to read it.
This was the first major reason people hated Kanye West. And Kanye was right. He chastised the media for their portrayal of black people.
“I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family, it says they’re looting. See a white family, it says they’re looking for food. And you know that it’s been five days, because most of the people are black.”
He was right. He goes on to speak from the heart about his guilt and what he hopes to do and what the Red Cross is doing. Meyers, someone who became famous for improvising, goes back to the script. Kanye leaves us with this.
“George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
He was right. And it was the low point of George W. Bush’s presidency. Really. Not 9/11, not two wars, not the levee failures in New Orleans, not the stock market crash of 2008, a pop star saying the right thing was the United States President’s low point. If you haven’t seen this clip, it’s incredibly awkward and hard to turn away.
Kanye West has been right for the last 10 years. He’s angered a former president, a current president and is taking selfies with the next potential president. Egomaniac, jackass, joke, whatever. No pop star is upsetting presidents while standing on the right side of history.
*Not one person has ever said to me that Kanye West is not talented or overrated.