Kanye West Isn't Listening to the Kids Anymore

On Thursday night, Kanye West applauded Donald Trump — we're calling bullsh*t.

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Complex Original

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I miss the old Kanye, straight from the ‘Go Kanye...I hate the new Kanye.

For the love of everything that is holy, please show some respect and shut up, ‘Ye. Just let us be, please. I know I’m not alone when I say that I’m tired of having to defend your rambling, incoherent statements to skeptical friends and family, especially during a time when the country is so divided and inflamed and so many people—people you once spoke for—are just plain scared.

The Kanye West of “All Falls Down” and “Crack Music” seems long gone. In his place is someone who, on Thursday night, told a crowd of young fans at his Saint Pablo show in California that Donald Trump is a genius, and that if he had voted this year, he would’ve cast his vote for Trump. I’m not disappointed, I'm just tired of this shit.

Does Kanye even know who his audience is at this point? No one in their right mind would expect ‘Ye to censor himself, but I would ask that he take a step back and remember the people who look up to him. Who post so rabidly on KTT. Who buy his shoes. Who adore his music. Who hang on his every word.

Just last August, Kanye told all of us to “listen to the kids.” If he were listening to lots of young women and black and brown and Muslim and LGBTQ and immigrant kids in this country right now, they would tell him that President-elect Donald Trump isn't a genius. Those kids would tell Kanye that Trump feels like the most evil motherfucker walking the planet. Oh, you liked Trump's debate style? Well, Muslims are going to be put on registries; the reproductive rights of women will be restricted; and families will be torn apart, if Trump acts on his campaign promises. Not to mention the possible damage done to the global economy—the market for $200 shoes could shrink dramatically during a recession.

Kanye's comments sound divorced from reality. He really told the audience, “Stop focusing on racism. This world is racist, OK? Let’s stop being distracted to focus on that so much. It’s just a fucking fact. We are a racist country, period.”

He doesn’t seem to understand that no one is discounting racism in America, they’re voicing a very real fear that this country is about to get that much more racist—at an institutional level. I’m not sure Kanye is familiar with this cast of characters set to join Trump’s Cabinet. The discussions of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General and Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon as his Chief Strategist should concern all sensible Americans. There's a reason the KKK is running victory laps with each rumored consideration.

I guess when you’re a rich icon (just like Trump), shit like this doesn’t necessarily affect you; Kanye can ruin everyone’s night at a live show by spewing nonsense. The fans at that show went to escape for a bit, and then he pulled this shit. They should demand their money back.

However, he’s spot on about how Americans treat celebrity. We’ve finally gotten to a point where crass idol worship at the expense of critical discourse and truth lifted a reality TV bully into the Oval Office. Kanye may have a real shot in 2020 if he weren’t a Black man and one of the most polarizing artists of our time—who happens to be married to another polarizing celebrity.

You have to pour out a bag of salt when Kanye opens his mouth. Outside of the world of hip-hop, he's been known for his outspoken tendencies ever since he told a live TV audience that George Bush doesn't care about black people during Hurricane Katrina. It’s crazy how money and fame can affect your view of the world. Kanye went from speaking up for those who needed it to calling out the fashion industry for its racism to telling us to stop worrying about race when Trump ran on a platform that incited bigoted violence. Just stop ranting and raving, ‘Ye. For us and for yourself.

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