Are Kanye West’s actions worth studying in college? Yassin Alsalman, a professor and longtime Ye fan, believes so. 

Alsalman, commonly known as rapper Narcy, is currently teaching a college course called “Kanye vs. Ye: Genius by Design” at Concordia University in Montreal. He was hoping to excite young students by diving deeper into the influence that Ye has had on the culture. “Ye’s journey and narrative touched and touch on colonialism, capitalism, race studies, social science, media studies, design, and fashion,” Alsalman told Complex via email. “His impact on youth culture and multiple generations is undeniable, and his public moments represent a lot of larger issues.” 

Whether we realize it or not, we all have studied Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. He’s been at the center of pop culture since the early 2000s. Alsalman previously spoke to Complex for our 20th-anniversary issue where we examined the multi-hyphenate’s impact on pop culture and he spoke on Ye’s commitment to challenging the status quo. “Kanye’s biggest contribution to culture is his ability to challenge the status quo of America while wanting to be the status quo at the same time,” Alsalman said. Because of that, longtime Ye fans are no strangers to controversy. Since the start of his career, Ye has used his platform and his voice to speak out on various issues he felt strongly about. From his gripes with award shows to George W. Bush and Hurricane Katrina, the rapper has never shied away from speaking his mind—no matter the criticism or consequences that followed. 

But now Ye has hit yet another controversial point in his career. In less than a month, he’s appeared on Drink Champs, Piers Morgan Uncensored, Tucker Carlson Tonight, and Cuomo, where he made controversial comments regarding the death of George Floyd and anti-Semitic remarks about the Jewish community.

He was also temporarily restricted on Instagram and Twitter for hate speech and tweeting he would go “death con 3 on Jewish people.” His anti-Semitic remarks caused a domino effect for him and his businesses like never before. While the Floyd comments led to a pending lawsuit, his anti-Semitic comments have alienated a portion of his fanbase while also causing companies and celebrities, including Kim and Khloé Kardashian, to take a public stand denouncing anti-Semitism. Other celebrities like Jessica Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, took it a step further creating petitions asking Adidas to end its partnership with the rapper; the company later did. Other companies like Balenciaga, Gap, Foot Locker, Peloton, and TJ Maxx also distanced themselves from the rapper, announcing that they were cutting ties with Ye and his Yeezy brand.

While Alsalman acknowledges how painful and disappointing Ye’s recent messaging has been, he believes the media is also to blame. “In the current climate of the world, we should be looking to have constructive conversations around change and lead with love,” Alsalman explains. “I also question the intention of Tucker Carlson and [Chris] Cuomo. Why would you even take this opportunity besides them being an opportunity? They don’t care about Ye or about the communities affected by any of his statements over the last couple of years.”

“We are not having the conversation about celebrity and industry and the dangers of both on our society and children,” he added. “We place too much emphasis on famous people and entertainment to discern the difference between the consumption of it and the aftereffects. We need to start having a conversation about idolatry, mass marketing, and how it’s affecting our youth.”

Ye has since shared a form of an apology to “the Jewish people that I hurt.” Still, his streaming numbers have reportedly taken a hit, and Forbes estimates that his net worth dropped from over a billion to $400 million in the aftermath. So is the damage done irreparable? Complex reached out to Alsalman as someone who has followed Ye’s career intensely and he shared his thoughts on where Ye’s recent remarks leave him, why companies are severing ties with the rapper now, as well as the status of his Concordia University course.