Kanye West is one of the biggest icons of our time. He has a massive platform and influence without even trying. Recently, however, that influence has been used to perpetuate incredibly problematic messages.
Long-time fans of West understand that he has a history of speaking his mind and that he will rarely filter himself or hold ideas back. This tendency can be seen through things like his “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” comment on NBC’s hurricane relief broadcast in 2005, his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 Video Music Awards and his more problematic 2018 TMZ rant where he implied that slavery was a choice.
Controversy continues to follow Kanye, and his most recent track record of incidents began with his Yeezy season 9 show at the beginning of October. His new line of clothing included shirts with White Lives Matter printed on the back, a phrase used primarily by white supremacists as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Kanye doubled down on his statement on Instagram, writing, "Everyone knows that Black Lives Matter was a scam now it's over you're welcome."
This post resulted in his account being banned from Instagram. Just a few days later, however, Kanye made a return to his Twitter, which has remained inactive since his 2020 presidential run.
In a series of Tweets, Kanye made several comments against Jews, accusing them of having control over rapper Diddy, and ultimately climaxing with him claiming that he plans to go “death con 3 on Jewish people.”
This action led to the removal of West’s Twitter account, and neither Twitter nor Instagram has reinstated his accounts since the incident.
His tirade continued when he did an interview with conservative public commentator Tucker Carlson, where he made comments which were unaired of his claiming that planned parenthood was a conspiracy to control Black people.
After this, Kanye’s media run resumed with an episode of LeBron James’ talk show “The Shop,” which never aired due to hate speech from West. After this, Kanye turned to Drink Champs, a popular podcast that he also appeared on in November of 2021. In this episode, Kanye made incredibly bold and controversial statements. West claimed that he was being targeted by Jewish media and that George Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose, not police brutality.
This string of actions has caused massive repercussions for the artist. Many of his peers and fellow celebrities have denounced his actions, and will likely no longer continue to support or work with West. Likely the biggest loss for Kanye was the cutting of all ties with Balenciaga, the high-end fashion brand which he has made numerous collaborations with.
Kanye recently went on “Piers Morgan Uncensored,” where he reluctantly apologized for his antisemitic comments, but it seems that the damage is already done. Many fans have turned to their own social media platforms to denounce Kanye’s actions, and redact their support of him and his products. Other fans, however, continue to support Kanye, and just want the best for the artist.
Kanye has had a long history of mental illness, which may be the cause of some of his behavior. In 2016, Kanye was hospitalized after a series of rants during performances, and in 2019, he revealed that he suffers from bipolar disorder, a mental health condition that can cause violent mood swings and manic episodes.
While his mental health issues don’t justify his actions, they provide some context on why the world may be seeing this behavior. Many people are calling for Kanye to step away from his platform and get assistance to take some time to rehabilitate himself.
Who knows what’s next for Kanye. He’s always been a complicated figure but has maintained a consistent level of status and fame. He’s one of the biggest artists of this generation, and many just want to see him get better. Between his recent losses resulting from his actions, the immense pressure due to the constant spotlight and attention placed on him, and his severe mental health struggles, Kanye will definitely remain in the public eye, for better or for worse.