Why I'm on Kanye West's Side

STORY BY Candace Bryan

Published: May 22, 2013

I know this won’t be a popular opinion, but I sympathize with Kanye West. Although he generally comes across as angry, self-absorbed, and obnoxious, a recent outburst of his has given me some insight into the reason why he always seems so negative in public. At a show last week in New York City, before his musical performance on Saturday Night Live’s season finale, Kanye went off and (vulgarly) spoke about his celebrity status, paparazzi, and fandom. And while some people might think the speech made him sound ungrateful for the fame and fortune he has earned, I think it speaks to the dehumanizing that the media does to celebrities.

"One thing about me, I'm the worst kinda ... celebrity because all I do is make real music. All I do is sit in the studio and make real, real sh--. And that's it. That's mother----ing it. That's mother----ing it. So I don't want nobody trying to run up on me with no cameras, trying to sell pictures and sh-- to magazines, asking me no dumbass questions, throwing me off of my focus and sh--. Harassing you all mother----ing day. I ain't no mother----ing celebrity."

Well, obviously by all standards Kanye West is a celebrity, as I’m pretty sure being a household name makes that so. However, through his vulgarities I see that what Kanye is trying to emphasize is the way society treats celebrities often undermines their art. Especially in a world where people can become celebrities without artistry or talent (including West’s own girlfriend Kim Kardashian), real artists must struggle to keep the focus of their name tied to the art they make and not the images the paparazzi captures. If I were a celebrity, I would also find this incredibly frustrating.

He went on to address whether or not he would use an SNL performance to become more likeable, and to “humanize” himself with humor:

"I ain't here to apologize to no mother----ers, man. It ain't about me humanizing myself. At what point did I become un-human where I had to turn myself back? Or maybe I was demonized. Or maybe I was treated inhumane and not human in that kind of situation." 

Again, he makes valid points. The media always insists on treating celebrities like one-dimensional characters in some fantasy world. Unintelligent people soak up these mostly falsified stories and form unintelligent opinions about people they don’t even know. How can you think Kanye West is disagreeable if you’ve never met him? How can you decide a celebrity is charming just because they seem so in thirty-second interviews? It’s all a sham, and as West points out, takes away from what matters: the art. It’s unfortunate that so often a musician or actor has to have a likable image for sales reasons. It’s unfortunate that someone might not buy a Kanye West album just because they think he comes across as arrogant. I respect Kanye for not giving into the pressure to act a certain way, or to cooperate with the media and the paparazzi. If anything, his choice not to be a puppet makes me think he’s probably more than a decent guy.

But it shouldn’t matter if I think he’s decent. It shouldn’t matter what you think about an artist. It should only matter how you think of the art, and I hope one day we can live in a world where the two are separate.

Read the rest of Kanye West’s ranting insights on <a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1707444/kanye-west-paparazzi-rant.jhtml">Mtv.com</a>.

Other Stories by Candace Bryan
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