Kanye West delivered an impassioned lecture to Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design last week, telling students there how noble their creative endeavor is. “I really do believe that the world can be saved through design,” he said, “and everything needs to actually be ‘architected.’”
But, as Kanye so often does, he apparently faced some adversity following his comments, and one student leadership group is calling foul of mockery of Kanye’s ambitions in the field of design, despite employing a number of architects in his DONDA firm and working with famed designer Peter Saville.
Héctor Tarrido-Picart, co-president of the African American Student Union at Harvard Graduate School of Design, saw an inherent bias in backlash to Kanye’s continued foray into fields outside of music.
"There's a long history in the United States of making fun of black people that actually make it," he told Dezeen. "We read it as him being mocked for being an ambitious black man."
He went on:
Why [does] racism still exist in an era where Obama is president and cultural figures like Jay Z and Kanye West create culture, but when it comes to trying to expand their creativity to other fields, [they] run into walls that could not be better described than remnants of the racist society that we have grown up in?
According to Dezeen, the AASU spoke with Kanye about raising awareness of bias in architecture, such as the fact that only one percent of registered American architects identify as African American. However, the organization signed a nondisclosure agreement with Kanye, keeping some details of their discussion private. Read more details of Tarrido-Picart’s statement on Dezeen.
Meanwhile, Kanye’s vision for architecture and design went even further in his speech: “I believe that utopia is actually possible,” he said, “but we're led by the least noble, the least dignified, the least tasteful, the dumbest, and the most political. So in no way am I a politician—I'm usually at my best politically incorrect and very direct. I really appreciate you guys' willingness to learn and hone your craft, and not be lazy about creation.”
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