Who is Candace Owens, the controversial political pundit Kanye West has praised on Twitter – and why are some fans appalled?

He tweeted: "I love the way Candace Owens thinks"

Kanye is, as you’ll well know by now, back on Twitter. He’s been saying a lot of stuff. Some of it good. Some of it… not so good. The have been the joyous affirmations of the beauty of life and all that is wondrous about it. There have been pictures of the Crocs that he has invented. Then there was the missive that really left fans perplexed. “I love the way Candace Owens thinks,” he wrote, referring to the political commentator and Fox News fave who makes YouTube videos that criticise the Black Lives Matter movement and claim that Black Panther is an allegory for Trump supporters.

Owens has been described as ‘far right’, though she has hit back at this label, insisting that “I believe the black community can do it without hand-outs. I believe the Democrats have strapped us to our past to prevent us from our futures. And I won’t stop fighting until all black Americans see that.” She added: “I’m not far right—I’m free.” Certainly, though, the views she expressed are largely out of step with those of the typically liberally entertainment world, which is perhaps why some Kanye fans have broadcast dismay over Twitter. Who, though, is Candace Owens – beyond the headlines? Let’s have a look-see, shall we?

She claims Black Lives Matter is “poisonous”

 The movement, which sees to raise awareness of police brutality against black people in American, comes in for scorn from Owens. At one University of California event, she proclaimed: “Victim mentality is not cool… “‘We’re oppressed! Four-hundred years of slavery! Jim Crow!’ By the way, none of you guys lived through [that]. Your grandparents did and it’s embarrassing that you utilise their history. You’re not living through anything right now.” She concluded: “I don’t know why people like being oppressed, it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard.” Later, on Fox, she explained her reasoning: “I took them [BLM protestors] on because I believe that their ideas are poisonous. I also believe that they are intellectually dishonest.”

And that conservatism is the new taboo

Owens, director of communications at Republican youth organisation Turning Point USA, publishes YouTube skits on her account Red Pill Black Pill and, in the one below, acts out three parts: a married couple and their teenage daughter, who comes out as gay… and a Republican. The parents are cool with their daughter’s sexuality, but are horrified by her newly unveiled political views. “You like Beyoncé!” the father protests. The mother, distraught, suggests that her daughter is “in the KKK” and wonders what the neighbours will say. The daughter explains calmly: “I simply think we should maybe put the economical future of this country ahead of the social issues.”

She argues that Black Panther is a pro-Trump allegory

The acclaimed Marvel movie has received widespread praise for being the first mainstream superhero film with a black lead character and a predominantly black cast. Yet in Owens’ eyes the movie is a piece of anti-immigration propaganda – which she endorses – that centres on a community (the fictional Wakanda) that refuses to accept refugees. She concludes: “I speak out every day on what I perceive to be a very real split taking place in the black community – those with a victim mentality versus those with a victor mentality. Those of us who believe they’re down with the cause, and those who believe that the cause is bringing us down.”

And previously attempted to launch the website socialautopsy.com

This was back in 2016, when Owens launched a Kickstarter to raise ¢75,000 for a portal that aimed to combat online bullying. Owen, herself a victim of harassment and bullying at university, explained that the website would document the social media movements of those guilty of abuse. In a promotional video, she said: “We attach [people’s] words to their places of employment, and anybody in the entire world can search for them. What we are doing is figuratively lifting the masks up so nobody can hide behind, you know, Twitter handles or privatized profiles. It’s all real, and it’s all researchable. You can still say whatever you want to say on social media, but you have to be willing to stand by your words.” The idea was met with a backlash from critics who claimed its definition of hate speech was too broad, and even posed seriously privacy issues. Eventually, the Kickstarter was shut down.

She really, really likes Donald Trump

Owens recently tweeted: “I truly believe that @realDonaldTrump isn’t just the leader of the free world, but the savior of it as well. May God bless America— the last stand for western civilization.” Kanye met with Trump at Trump Tower at the end of 2016, though it seems there’s been no outcome from the meeting of minds beyond the social media storm it caused. Perhaps Kanye admires Owens’ political views – what she thinks. Or perhaps he really means what he says: that he admires the way she thinks, challenging the status quo and rebelling against what she feels is expected of her in a liberal media climate. Either way, he’ll probably let us know soon enough.