No One Man Should Have All That Power

Kanye '400 years of slavery was a choice' West reminds us that there is power in our consumption - let's use it

PICTURED: Kanye West

IT’S EASY to forget how much we support artists who we may deem not deserving of it. We support them through streaming a track on Spotify maybe because it’s hot right now or nostalgic of a time long gone. We support them when we see their name trending on social media and decide to add our two pence.

We support them with every Google search and every YouTube view, regardless if our reasons are motivated by good or bad – either way, being tapped into these artists aids in the lifestyle of the very people we often criticise yet we continue to throw support behind them with our very actions – often unknowingly or merely choosing to ignore that reality.

However, in light of Kanye West’s lazy – yet effective – attempts to promote his upcoming album, we are reminded of how much power we have when we choose to contribute to the conversation and following his most recent statement, I suggest that we no longer do so.

West appeared on TMZ live yesterday (May 1) where he spoke as the unequivocally ‘free thinker’ that he thinks he is, and stated that 400 years of slavery was a choice. A CHOICE people.

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years—for 400 years?! that sounds like a choice” he said during an appearance on the entertainment site. “Like, you was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all? It’s like we’re mentally in prison.”

West was eloquently chastise for his comments by TMZ’s Van Lathan who ultimately said what we were all thinking: “I actually don’t think you’re thinking anything,” Lathan interjected. “I think what you’re doing right now is actually the absence of thought. And the reason why I feel like that is because, Kanye, you’re entitled to your opinion. You’re entitled to believe whatever you want.

“But there is fact, and real-world, real-life consequence behind everything that you just said. And while you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you’ve earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives.

“We have to deal with the marginalisation that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said, for our people, was a choice. Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled and, brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something, to me, that’s not real.”

West later defended his comments, saying that they were misinterpreted and that he “brought up the 400 years point because we can’t be mentally imprisoned for another 400 years”.

“We need free thought now. Even the statement was an example of free thought It was just an idea,” he tweeted.

West’s deluded and hurtful comments on slavery are the final straw for many – and his #Wevsthepeople theory and the idea that his battle with the media is akin to “a modern day Willie Lynch theory” further emphasises that.

Being a black republican spouting uneducated opinions is one thing (and is personally none of my business) – but ignoring actual facts and insisting that our ancestors – (who he stands on the backs of and who without them would not be in the position he is in today) chose to be slaves is hurtful, inaccurate and cause for concern to say the least.

Kanye West is cancelled for me. Let the suburban white kids who buy his music and his yeezys have him. Let him stay in the sunken place in Calabasas and be reduced to a supporting role on Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Our role as consumers is far too important to endorse or support idiocracies – and that support doesn’t mean just buying their music but everything in between.

In the words of J Cole “Choose wisely” – and yes I understand the irony of this article as this does essentially contribute to the conversation. I like to think of it as a friendly reminder that whatever you stream, comment on, make trend, troll, stan for, has an impact.

Once you start seeing things that way and acknowledge that there is power and actual affect in what you consume – beyond actively buying something – you may see things a little differently.

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