Kanye West VS Cancel Culture : Yeezy wins
Cancel (can·cel \ ˈkan(t)-səl ) verb " : to destroy the force, effectiveness, or validity of
A digital bullet with murderous motives, packed with lethal power aiming to end careers, the word cancel has become a weapon against questionable behavior yet more often than never, the target is left unscathed. Many problematic faves appear to be crafted from a cloth stitched with confidence, controversy and Teflon. The fiery outrage of mass calls for cancellation rarely transforms lively careers to ashes.
Understanding the terms and conditions of the word "cancel", the heavy, sometimes harsh and swift judgement of the public leads to a new proposed cancellation every three to five business days. With social media encouraging little-to-no privacy among celebrities, exposing the entirety of their stardom to fans, their views, opinions and behaviors are also placed under a microscope. The validity of cancellation may vary from person to business, to brand to app.
Recently, Kanye West, a man whom may offer many reasons to be under anyone's cancellation radar, is the latest celebrity to face backlash for political views, controversial statements and brash behavior. His return to the spotlight debuted a more peculiar Yeezy than normal. Sporting a MAGA cap, Kanye's Twitter rants about creative licenses, supporting Donald Trump and "free-thinking" caught the attention of many, for better or for worse.
The abrasive comeback of Kanye West earned him the side eye from many fans, foes and friends, his time on TMZ is where many drew the line. Mr. West appeared on TMZ and alleged that the enslavement of African people, kidnapped and sold to colonizers and trekked across the Atlantic was a choice in which the victims could have opted out.
The disregard for historical accuracy and cultural ignorance placed Kanye West on the fast track to destination cancellation. As if his political support of Donald Trump, a man whose platform succeeded based on the suffering and mistreatment of those who create Kanye's fan base, wasn't enough, his remarks on slavery echoed "WAKE UP MR WEST" sentiments across the internet.
Immediately, TMZ correspondent Van Lathan assertively interjected, informing Kanye West of the danger and ignorance of his statements, reminding him that he is indeed entitled to believe what he believes yet the underlying issue with his proclamations. The interview, rightfully, caused a Twitter storm, unpredictable by anyone. Kanye West transformed into Coonye and many dealt with the weight of visioning slavery as a choice with the comical hashtag #IfSlaveryWasAChoice.
It has been proven many times that although Twitter births hilarious jokes, awkward interactions, sometimes successful events and endless memes, not all hashtags are created in vain. Twitter has successfully impacted political campaigns, created social awareness, ended and began careers and highlighted racial disparities in professional and casual settings. When Twitter "does its thing" the results are often in favor of the majority. But when it comes to cancelling Kanye, the tides have turned.
Still, the call for cancellation was not answered by all. While some of Kanye's famous friends sought to privately (and some publicly) direct Kanye to the error of his ways, the artist was met with some support. Yeezy stans, various rappers, MAGA trolls and the Ankh-Right's finest free thinkers all flew to his defense.
The freedom of speech allows anyone, including Kanye West to be loud and wrong with potential consequences to provocative statements. In the case of Kanye, the clap-back targeted his career. For some his antics became intolerable and the cancellation commenced. Almost a month following the weary night of the TMZ appearance, Kanye has released new music which many vowed not to support, yet somehow his album still came out on top. While others who make statements that get them "cancelled" must issue iPhone press releases and apology tweets, somehow Kanye thrives in mania.
His latest album Ye, his solo project created while in Wyoming, did not suffer. Ye had rappers, fans, media personalities and more flying to Wyoming for a listening party, streaming the project and carrying on about his genius. The case of Kanye offers many conclusions that are not provable with quantitative statistics. Either way, Kanye came out victorious over cancel culture. Who gets the credit (or the blame) for Ye's rise to the top of the charts? Did his cosign from Donald Trump encourage the MAGA crowd to support their new brethren or were people not serious in their call for cancellation?
The failed cancellation of Kanye West suggests that he, like others, have amassed a level of stardom and success that comes with an invisible impenetrable cloak. No matter what he does, he has proven that he can say anything and still have the support of millions. What does this say about the effectiveness of cancel culture? Where is the line drawn?
Celebrities must realize the power of influence and the potential their words have to change the world. Kanye's statements aren't as damaging coming from a random person with 600 Twitter followers and a 9-5 as they are coming from someone with his platform. Kanye has the clout levels to mold impressionable minds. His political views, and historical blunders have undeniable impact and blur the line between right and wrong. When the MAGA crowd got the Kanye co-sign they were further pushed from seeing the error in their ways and used him as a reasoning to support their deadly ideals.
As far as who allows fame and fortune to correlate to influence and power, the people carry the burden. As a culture, we have the ability to strip superheroes of their immortal powers by not supporting their artistic endeavors. Drawing a line and cementing the placement on what will and will not be supported is seemingly tricky yet simplistic in nature. James Baldwin writes "The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place."