American rapper Kanye West has become a trending subject once more following his appearance on the late-night sketch show, Saturday Night Live. Instead of fulfilling his promise to release new music this past weekend, West launched into an off-the-cuff rant that involved President Donald Trump, Democrats, and racism in America. West then posted a picture of himself wearing the infamous ‘Make America Great Again’ hat, claiming in his caption that ‘…this represents good and America becoming whole again.’ In that same post, West called for the abolition of the 13th amendment. West has been a long-time supporter of Trump and his ‘MAGA’ movement, even going so far as to record a song defending his uncharacteristically Conservative alignment. While many have made jokes about West being in ‘the sunken place,’ his insistence upon representing the ‘black side’ of republicanism has lent a very serious sense of credibility to a dangerous movement.
Whether he likes it or not, West has a cultural responsibility as a black-celebrity in America to tread lightly. By openly supporting a man who has a long history of blatant racism, West has provided Trump and his followers with a cop-out for their prejudice. After all, how can their beliefs be racist when a black man himself is willing to represent them? West has seemingly become a puppet for the far-right, echoing the words of those willing to oppress him in increasingly bizarre ways.
Offensive and misinformed speech doesn’t seem to carry any real repercussions in our current social climate. Despite West having previously made the absurd claim that ‘slavery was a choice,’ he still has thousands of people supporting his ‘movement.’ Hailing West as a cultural hero ignores the varying damaging things he has said and done. It excuses his narcissistic and misogynistic patterns, making him seem like a reputable source of leadership when he is largely uneducated about the topics he speaks on. West isn’t brave for supporting Donald Trump, or for backing the Republican party. He shouldn’t suddenly become a political icon simply for subverting expectations.