His Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: Into the Mind of Kanye West

Following the unfortunate and untimely death of his mother, Kanye West spiraled from a levelheaded musical prospect, into a fatigued trope of a creative genius unable to function or socialize in polite society. Virtually unknown in 2004, the subsequent success of his first studio album, The College Dropout, propelled the extraordinary producer-turned-rapper into a pop culture heavyweight. His cleverly innovative production style alongside his lyrical content was a transformative force in hip hop. Almost singlehandedly, he revolutionized the hip hop music scene and became a industry powerhouse, attracting an eclectic audience of seasoned hip hop heads, believers of a just cause, counterculture enthusiasts, and spoiled white fraternity brothers.

But over the years, Kanye shed away a productive image to become a repetitive tabloid joke. At first his “indiscretions” were daringly authentic, easily attributable to a Black man fully aware of his Blackness, especially within the context of global capitalism. There was the slip-of-the-tongue in 2006, when he told the world that then President Bush “didn’t care about Black people” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. His delivery was awkward and humble, symptoms of a man forever wrapped in the speed of constant observation.

I personally rejoiced when I heard the notorious comments; at the time, he was speaking a truth that few would. I further rejoiced when in 2009 at the Video Music Awards, he climbed on stage and told Taylor Swift that Beyonce had the “best video of all time.”

But this was also around the time when Kanye West transitioned from a politically-inclined creative visionary subdued by the strength of his talent, to a flagrant diva. Encompassed by extreme arrogance, Kanye was no longer enraptured by nimble humility. With a mounting display of commercial sales, and the bank account and social clout to match, Kanye embraced the caricature of the boastful nouveau riche. His newly found fortune led to a detachment of sorts; he was no longer the vanguard of the hip hop enthusiasts who welcomed his innovation. Now he was the token frat boy, an embodiment that early on, he claimed to be against.

The shift in Kanye’s social dynamic is highlighted by recent news that he cosigned the use of the N-word by French designer, Jean Touitou and his brand A.P.C. Touitou’s fall men’s collection is inappropriately called “N*ggas in Paris,” a title derived of the hit song of the same name. Kanye has a relationship with the brand, and reportedly gave his blessing to the racist collection “inspired” by street wear.

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Kanye’s involvement in such an egregious display is a head-scratcher. He’s been openly vocal about racism and the lack of diversity within the fashion world. His controversial album Yeezus, was a declaration against those major fashion houses that refused him equity in fashion design and creative management. Kanye repeatedly tells us that he’s creatively brilliant enough to deliver inventive styles for elegant consumption. And, yet, he empowers this lazy and unimaginative misinterpretation of Black culture in one of the most offensive ways possible.

The beautiful, dark, twisted mind of Kanye West will somehow rationalize this behavior. He’ll justify his actions as an expression of creativity, and an army of faux revolutionaries masquerading as seasoned demagogues, will shallowly justify his actions.

Over the years, I’ve supported Kanye as best I could. When he called himself a god, I understood where he was coming from. A Black man has every right to call himself a god, especially in comparison to a “thug,” “pimp,” or …. “nigga.”

But this latest antic I cannot support. Kanye, ironically, pimped himself out to achieve some semblance of fashion fame. He positioned himself as a voice of Black people, by giving his blessing to a white designer unable or unwilling to empathetically investigate the history, context, of durability of Black fashion. Kanye was in a unique position to educate and influence, but he threw his privilege to the wayside, in favor of perpetuating the very thing he’s always railing against.

Kanye is a shameful disgrace to the man he use to be. To paraphrase my favorite urban philosopher Charlamagne Tha God, Kanye West is now Kanye Kardashian. He makes moves based on an easy paycheck and fame (or infamy), instead of self-determination or responsibility to an entire racial or ethnic group. Kanye is no longer a voice for me. He no longer represents my pro-Black political ideology. Instead, he succumbed to the clutches of racist capitalism. He is someone I no longer recognized.

I will still find his music beautiful. But his mindset, now ravaged as betrayal, is dark. And the stuttering mental justifications that undoubtedly assuaged his subconscious guilt, are intricately twisted.

photo 1Arielle Newton, Editor-in-Chief. Get at me @arielle_newton. Get at us @BlkMillennials.

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10 responses to “His Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: Into the Mind of Kanye West

  1. I agree Kanye has changed but maybe he is only protecting himself. If history tells you anything then you will know that black leaders do not last long. Every black leader has either been murdered or had their character murdered. I honestly think he is a genius. I believe he purposely does things like the Taylor Swift incident. By doing that he doesn’t have to appear at award shows anymore which protects him from anyone looking to harm him. “When everybody likes you then you are powerless”, said by Kanye. Which is true, but if you are conscious minded you will like Kanye because of the message he is sending throughout his career. Any black person that doesn’t respect Kanye West are not only ignorant but doomed. Kanye is in a position no one person has ever been and we should be in total support instead of worrying about the hoopla that he does to protect himself. Kanye West is right when he says, in order to have any say so in this world you must be a billionaire. And there aren’t many black billionaires that remember their black obviously because nothing has changed. So this is why he is turning up because he is almost there at billionaire status, just listen to him when he talks about meeting these billionaires. We must support him or they are going to destroy him like 2pac, MLK Jr, Malcolm X, and Michael Jackson. What do all these men have in common? They weren’t billionaires which mean they were controlled. I liked the article but don’t get distracted by the way the media portrays Mr.West because he is our last hope.

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  2. I agree Kanye has changed but maybe he is only protecting himself. If history tells you anything then you will know that black leaders do not last long. Every black leader has either been murdered or had their character murdered. I honestly think he is a genius. I believe he purposely does things like the Taylor Swift incident. By doing that he doesn’t have to appear at award shows anymore which protects him from anyone looking to harm him. “When everybody likes you then you are powerless”, said by Kanye. Which is true, but if you are conscious minded you will like Kanye because of the message he is sending throughout his career. Any black person that doesn’t respect Kanye West are not only ignorant but doomed. Kanye is in a position no one person has ever been and we should be in total support instead of worrying about the hoopla that he does to protect himself. Kanye West is right when he says, in order to have any say so in this world you must be a billionaire. And there aren’t many black billionaires that remember their black obviously because nothing has changed. So this is why he is turning up because he is almost there at billionaire status, just listen to him when he talks about meeting these billionaires. We must support him or they are going to destroy him like 2pac, MLK Jr, Malcolm X, and Michael Jackson. What do all these men have in common? They weren’t billionaires which mean they were controlled. I liked the article but don’t get distracted by the way the media portrays Mr.West because he is our last hope.

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    • Dude, if Kanye is “our last hope” we are doomed. The fact that he is trying to adhere to a racist system that systematically imprisons/murders young boys who look just like Kanye shows you were his head and loyalties rest. Here’s a clue–it ain’t with you or me.

      He took the first chance he had to draft himself out of anything resembling reality. That’s why is married to the woman he is married to. He is drunk on status and fame.

      And spare me the whole ‘only billionaires have power’. They are slaves to their money and rely on people like you mistaking their cronyism for deification. There are worst things you can do to a man than murder him—Kanye is quickly becoming the living embodiment of that.

      He’s done for.

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      • If you can name someone in his position of fame and status that actually says anything that isn’t politically correct then you let me know. The fact is billionaires are not controlled at all, that shows your ignorance. Your a great example of how the media can use mind control to sway your opinion of one of our black soldiers.

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      • In order to make change efficiently we must adhere to this “racist system”. Many people before tried doing things your way and now they are dead. Open up your ears and listen to what he is actually saying! He is speaking in codes! And how dare you judge someone for who they chose to marry? I’m sure you have had sex with numerous partners as well Ms lady.

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      • Everyone are slaves to this fiat currency, you included! Billionaires just happen to have the majority of the money and with that comes political power. Which is needed to effect change. How you ask? By sponsoring presidential candidates, in turn having favors repaid from the Oval Office. You follow me? I swear black people like you are ruining our culture. Not the “thugs”, people like YOU!

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      • I can’t understand anyone defending Kanye with this one. Protecting himself from what? I don’t know his life but I’m pretty damn sure it aint the life of Malcolm or MLK. He gave that white man a pass to shit on our community with immunity. When I listened to the designer describe his collection and even his description of Timberland shoes all I could think was when Ye had the opportunity to show SELF respect he shunned away like a coward. For all that big talk about blackness and being a man we see it for what it is TALK. I used to think Kanye was confident. Maybe he is not. Maybe he is still trying to figure things out and he is insecure- Why the need to constantly justify why he married Kim, dude, if you are happy with your woman be happy you don’t have to keep explaining why you are with her…
        no, kanye is weak and his argument on this issue is weaker!.

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      • I swear black people like you are ruining our culture. Not the “thugs”, people like YOU!

        Mike Ross that was so out of order….her points are valid. You never give up who you are by assimilating, especially trying to assimilate with people who can call you nigger and treat you like you are less than a human being. You CAN stand on your manhood/womanhood without giving up your soul. Sad you feel that way

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  3. As you said, it seems like the death of his mother might have sent him over the cliff. I hope he might come back to reality one day as he certainly has something to offer if he can get himself together.

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