Kanye West: the effect of madness


Jackson Bechtold

Ye surrounded by the madness he has both created and spread.

Multi-Grammy Award winning rapper and producer, Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has fueled a wave of hatred against Jewish people across the nation. With the recent surge of outrageous behavior from the great musician, comes the industry firing back at the insanity.

Ye is an artist with a prolific and extensive catalog of music under his belt. His greatness and the influence he has on hip hop as a whole has cemented him in the scene as one of the greatest to ever hold the mic. He is notably known for his unique production style, captivating the ears of millions around the world with his explosive instrumentals, very outspoken lyrics and the prominent influence of gospel music within his songs. He has earned 24 Grammys throughout his nearly 20 year long career, and has released 13 studio albums, two of which are collaborative albums.

However, Ye’s impact stretches far beyond just music. He has partnered with a multitude of brands and fashion designers to release specially tailored clothing masterminded strictly from Ye’s own creative vision. After switching from Nike in 2013, Ye had a brand deal with Adidas to produce his popular Yeezy shoes. But this deal, along with others, was recently terminated due to his recent statements and actions on social media.

The anti-Semitic claims first started on Oct. 8, with a tweet claiming Kanye would go “death con 3” on Jewish people. Along with this absurd comment, Ye was spotted at Paris Fashion Week on Oct. 3 donning a shirt with the words “White Lives Matter” written on it. He also had black models wear identical shirts. This phrase is controversial because it has its roots in neo-Nazi and white supremacist culture; it originated as a response to the popular “Black Lives Matter” movement. This evidently has contributed to Ye’s downward spiral, and it leaves room for discussion: will this mark the end of Ye’s career?

Jonas Clark, a senior at Clover Hill, thinks that Ye’s madness will lead to him being a less admired artist.

“I think he could produce music, but it won’t have the same amount of popularity that it might once have had,” said Clark.

Andrew Bennett, a senior at Clover Hill, believes the anti-Semitism is the work of an alter ego hidden inside Ye.

“It could be his alter ego, it could be Ye instead of Kanye,” Bennett said. “Kanye and Ye are like two separate people within the same body, if that makes sense.”

Adidas, Gap, Balenciaga and the Creative Arts Agency, amongst countless others, have cut ties with Ye. He has lost his primary manufacturers and collaborators for Yeezy, his most popular brand. His Twitter was previously locked and his Instagram is currently suspended due to his comments. Many celebrities surrounding Ye, such as other musicians, actors, comedians and fashion designers alike, have shared their views regarding him on Twitter.

Well known R&B singer-songwriter John Legend believes that Ye’s statements align similarly with the beliefs of those who speak so greatly about free speech.

“Weird how all these ‘free, independent thinkers’ always land at the same old anti-blackness and anti-Semitism,” Legend said.

Jaden Smith, a fellow rapper who attended Paris Fashion Week on Oct. 3, refused to stay after witnessing Ye and his models dressed in the problematic White Lives Matter attire; he would express his opinion on the matter in a series of tweets following his departure.

“I don’t care who it is if I don’t feel the message, I’m out,” Smith said

Contrary to the message delivered by brands and big celebrities, however, there seems to be an abundance of people supportive of Ye’s beliefs, and hold him to be in the right. Demonstrators held out banners above Interstate 405 in Los Angeles praising Ye. Photos taken by a passerby reveal the banners to read out “honk if you know”, and “Kanye is right about the Jews” as people hold up a Nazi salute, standing behind the banners. Sam Yebri, a worker’s rights attorney from Beverly Hills, tweeted out pictures of anti-Semitist flyers posted in the area. Whether or not these flyers are influenced by Ye’s claims on Twitter or not is unknown, but it is likely. This unusual support has left some to wonder if Ye will be able to garner support and continue to sell products and make music with the help of fascist, neo-Nazi and right wing groups, or if his career is really over.