It’s always been tough to be a Kanye fan.
I have fought for him more times than I can count, and have been quoted saying “If Kanye asked me to jump off of a cliff right now, I would.”
But recently, fighting for Ye has been a lot tougher — in a different, more internalized way.
A little background: Kanye has been my hero since I was in elementary school, when my older cousin introduced me to the genius that is College Dropout. And when I say hero, I mean that for more than half of my life, I have looked up to Ye in every way possible. He has been one of the only constants in my life, and I have grown with him through every phase of both my identity and his.
As dramatic as it sounds, there are a lot of parts of me that have come from him and his music. As a generally unsure person, Yeezy taught me to be driven, confident, and to be disciplined in times when motivation isn’t enough. And I feel like this is something Kanye fans share across the board – loving Kanye means being dedicated to the adventure of trying to keep up with him, and therefore being dedicated to your own growth and adventure. But obviously, this is a lot of pressure to put on someone (or the idea of someone), celebrity or not.
So after having tied myself to him for so long, lately, I’ve been feeling lost.
On April 13 of this year, Kanye got back on Twitter, and all I could think was finally! His music has always been such an intimate experience – a tiny glimpse into the mind of a genius. Before he first deactivated a few years ago, his Twitter felt like that too, especially because he was never afraid to say literally whatever was on his mind.
This time wasn’t any different; cue a few questionable tweets about Candace Owens and “freeing your mind.” And that’s when it all started – the Trump tweets, the MAGA hat, a few more tweets, and then finally, the ill-informed “Slavery was a choice” rant.
Up until then, I had a pretty solid argument ready for anyone that tried to question me about him (mainly to get a rise out of me). Pre-slavery comments, I was convinced that whatever Kanye said or did was rooted in his beliefs in love and forgiveness. As flawed as his way of expressing it was, the dynamics of oppression backed up the message that Ye was trying to get across.
As a Muslim woman, I know firsthand how heavy life can be when you hold on to every single act of violence, microagression, and Islamophobic comment. But the thing is, we can’t just skip to the forgiveness part like Kanye is preaching. tweet
Living in a world built on a foundation of systemic oppression often means carrying a lot of anger and frustration that can easily be converted into hate. In a perfect world, the solution to that is love and forgiveness — love for all of humanity, and forgiveness in the sense of freeing yourself from the weight of repression. And as a Muslim woman, I know firsthand how heavy life can be when you hold on to every single act of violence, microagression, and Islamophobic comment.
But the thing is, we can’t just skip to the forgiveness part like Kanye is preaching.
If our oppressors still don’t understand the depths of their oppression — and if they choose not to – the line between forgiveness and being ignorant to the realities of intolerance becomes very thin.
Without the work, forgiving can mean forgetting, which is counterintuitive to the struggle against xenophobia in any form. And with Kanye having such a huge platform, it invites racists of all kinds to carry along the narrative of “If Kanye, a black man, can forgive us, then everyone should be able to move on, too.”
But that’s not the case, and that line of thinking is as far from being “mentally free” as possible; it’s endorsing ignorance and the continuance systemic oppression.
If our oppressors still don’t understand the depths of their oppression — and if they choose not to – the line between forgiveness and being ignorant to the realities of intolerance becomes very thin. tweet
So I’ve been really quiet about everything until now.
I’ve always looked down on “fake fans” that have abandoned Ye whenever the world has turned against him. But now my fave is problematic in a way that I can’t defend – and for the first time in my eyes, Kanye is wrong, for a multitude of reasons.
And I don’t know where that leaves me as someone that has loved and connected with him so deeply for so long. I couldn’t look deeper into his comments on TMZ, like I’ve so often done before, to find the hidden meaning.
I don’t know if supporting him means aligning myself with Trump and his supporters, and I don’t know why the world has to be like this. All I really know is that everything sucks right now, and I’m just waiting to wake up from a bad dream.