Kanye West, winner of 21 Grammy awards, owner of one of the most influential shoe brands in the world, husband to the most talked-about woman in pop culture and one of the most influential people in modern American culture, has slowly and steadily lost the respect of many admirers in recent years.
Fellow rappers, influential actors, and politicians have all spoken out against his recent tirades, and the media has consistently fed off of West’s erratic and rather confusing behavior.
For someone who claims to be “a channel of light and love to the world” and preaches the power of empathy on Twitter and other forms of media, West has made plenty of not-so-loving accusations.
In 2015, he announced his plans to run for President of the United States in 2020. He later implied on Twitter that he intends to run in 2024 due to Trump’s election in the 2016 election.
That year, he was the cause of yet another Twitter storm after tweeting, “BILL COSBY INNOCENT!!!!!!!!!!” in the wake of over 50 women coming out to accuse Bill Cosby of sexual assault— and yes, that’s ten exclamation points.
Only weeks ago, just before his appearance on Saturday Night Live’s season premiere (SNL) on Sept. 29, he tweeted out, “The being formally known as Kanye West. I am YE” to announce what we can only presume will be a name change in the future.
There’s no doubt that Kanye West has continued to challenge social views if only for the sake of challenging them. However, his most recent public rant happened after SNL went off the air.
After the rolling of the credits at the end of the show, a time usually reserved for a quick “Thank you and goodnight!” from the host, West proceeded to give a third musical performance followed by a lengthy pro-Trump rant while uncomfortable SNL cast members stood by and simply waited for it to be over.
In it, West claimed cast members “bullied him” backstage for sporting a bright red Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat, though cast members Kenan Thompson and Pete Davidson have since openly pointed out that this claim is untrue.
He also pointed out that the Democratic Party planned to break apart African American families by promoting welfare, a confusing and unfounded argument.
“Now you got a situation where we need to have a dialogue and not a diatribe because if you want something to change, it’s not going to change by saying, ‘F**k that person.’ Try love. Try love. Try love. Try love,” said West in response to an angry audience member.
While West made some valid points about bias in the media and accepting one another, West’s overall point was that everyone should just give Trump a break. His platform was unwarranted, just as it often is when he chooses to throw tantrums like these. In fact, that’s one of the main problems with West’s boisterous onslaughts; they’re almost never called for.
SNL cast member Pete Davidson spoke out about what West had to say during the following SNL episode on Oct. 6.
“Kanye is a genius, but a musical genius,” said Davidson. “Like Joey Chestnut is a hot dog-eating genius, but I don’t want to hear Joey Chestnut’s opinions about things that aren’t hot dog-related.” He went on to slam West for claiming he didn’t need his prescribed medication to be “the real” Kanye.
“There’s no shame in the medicine game. I’m on them. They’re great,” Davidson said. “Being mentally ill is not an excuse to act like a jackass.” Part of the issue is that West does not face consequences for his actions. In fact, his relationship with consequence seems nearly nonexistent. Sure, he faces backlash from the public, but his foolery dissipates from the media, and his life continues normally—that is, normal for someone with a net worth of $145 million.
In the spring, he claimed that “slavery was a choice”, a clumsy attempt at creating a metaphor for the mental entrapment African Americans face today in American society. He later gave a weak apology about the ordeal and it slowly faded from the media.
“I don’t know if I properly apologized for how that slave comment made people feel, so I want to take this moment right now to say that I’m sorry for hurting, I’m sorry for the one-two effect of the MAGA hat into the slave comment,” said West in an interview with a Chicago radio station.
Even after the apparent discomfort he created on the SNL stage, he felt safe enough to make an inflammatory claim on social media the following day.