Kanye West, as we all know by now, is absolutely no stranger to controversy. But 2018 has seen Ye – as he now wants to be officially (and not just colloquially) called – exceed himself when it comes to courting attention and/or uproar; as he acknowledged on the Pusha T track ‘What Would Meek Do’, his every public appearance, tweet or utterance “cause a new debate“.
So many of us had hoped that the rapper’s ‘Dragon Energy’ school of thought – y’know, the, er, trait he said he shared with Donald Trump back in April as he tried to further justify his support for the President – would be short-lived, but Kanye’s latest surge of activity over the past few days has really pissed people off, including some pretty high-profile celebrities.
It all started earlier this month with the surprise announcement of his next music project, ‘Yandhi’. Slated to arrive on the day of his Saturday Night Live guest appearance over the weekend (September 29), Kanye then lived up to expectation by appearing in promotional clips for the Adam Driver-hosted episode wearing his current favourite ‘Make America Great Again’ hat. This… this did not go down well with Adam, clearly.
— ye (@kanyewest) September 27, 2018
Needless to say, the infamous hat made an appearance in Saturday’s live show during the episode-ending performance of the ‘ye’ track ‘Ghost Town’. And it was at the conclusion of the episode that Kanye managed to further piss off the Star Wars actor, with Driver and various SNL cast members reportedly walking off stage as Kanye launched into a largely off-air monologue about his support for Trump.
I wasn’t on stage for that. ??
— Chris Redd (@Reddsaidit) September 30, 2018
“So many times I talk to a white person and [they] say, ‘How could you like Trump, he’s racist?’” Kanye said during the ramble, which was cut for time by SNL producers. “Well, if I was concerned about racism, I would have moved out of America a long time ago.”
The Roots drummer Questlove summed up how many were feeling after the SNL debacle in the below tweet, which referenced Chris Rock’s Instagram-caught footage of Kanye’s speech.
Go to @ChrisRock’s IG story. I’m going to sleep. I’m done man. Done.
— Questlove from @SongsThatShook Oct 13th @AMC_tv (@questlove) September 30, 2018
Despite the speech, Kanye has since claimed that he’s subsequently been offered the hosting gig by SNL creator Lorne Michaels – imagine the reaction to his opening monologue if he does guest-host one day, or even the efforts he’d go to in order to top Saturday’s bizarre performance of ‘I Love It’ with Lil Pump.
Kanye continued his eventful weekend with yet another alarming public statement last night (September 30). After defending his MAGA hat (which he said “represents good and America becoming whole again”), he then said that he hoped that freed prisoners would be provided with jobs “as we abolish” the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution (he later clarified that he meant to type “amend”), which originally prohibited slavery and “involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime”.
this represents good and America becoming whole again. We will no longer outsource to other countries. We build factories here in America and create jobs. We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment. Message sent with love pic.twitter.com/a15WqI8zgu
— ye (@kanyewest) September 30, 2018
This… this did not go down well.
Captain America actor Chris Evans was one high-profile critic of the tweet, calling Kanye’s outlook “maddening”.
“The level of unapologetic conjecture I’ve encountered lately isn’t just frustrating, it’s retrogressive, unprecedented and absolutely terrifying,” he concluded.
There’s nothing more maddening than debating someone who doesn’t know history, doesn’t read books, and frames their myopia as virtue. The level of unapologetic conjecture I’ve encountered lately isn’t just frustrating, it’s retrogressive, unprecedented and absolutely terrifying. https://t.co/4jCFwB4T5U
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) September 30, 2018
As you may have already read today, Lana Del Rey also took aim at Kanye over his views last night – branding his ongoing support for Trump as “a loss for the culture”.
“If you think it’s alright to support someone who believes it’s OK to grab a woman by the pussy just because he’s famous – then you need an intervention as much as he does,” she wrote in a lengthy comment underneath Kanye’s MAGA-featuring Instagram post.
Director Ava DuVernay – whose powerful documentary film 13th explored the 13th Amendment, racial inequality and mass incarceration – declined to comment on Kanye’s take on the amendment, adding: “I can’t do nothing for him.”
I’m consciously choosing to tweet about plant-based burgers and not current statements about the 13th Amendment from a certain MAGA follower. Respectfully, please don’t @ me. I can’t do nothing for him. pic.twitter.com/NX2Vphaz9m
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) September 30, 2018
Just gonna go ahead and put this right here. Just set. it. right. here. ? https://t.co/9pEKNZ0B5T
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) October 1, 2018
Plenty of other prominent names have had their say on Kanye’s views, too:
Folks, let’s cut tot the chase: @kanyewest has no idea what in the hell he is talking about. His rambling, unfocused, nonsensical tweets can’t even be revised to make sense.BASIC question, Kanye: “When was the last time America was ‘whole’?” I’ll wait. https://t.co/fXrTNCAXqD
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) September 30, 2018
…You would LOVE books, dude. They're like millions of hat slogans stacked together. They would blow your face!
Baldwin, Du Bois, Angelou, Michelle Alexander. This is such a waste of a platform and black thinker that genuinely seems to want to get at something. Fook! https://t.co/3hT1PjCRnA
— Ben Philippe (@gohomeben) September 30, 2018
People… he’s not a misunderstood genius or telling “his truth.” He is an idiot who refuses to learn, read or grow. Which is why he has so much in common with @reaIDonaldTrunp. Words have consequences. And he is spreading misinformation & normalizing hate #learnfromhistory
— Ted Sullivan (@karterhol) September 30, 2018
kanye saying that he wants the 13th amendment (which abolished slavery) to be repealed and for america to stop outsourcing labor… from a private jet while wearing a trump hat and decked out in yeezy (made in china)… is too much confusion for me
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) September 30, 2018
waiting and waiting and waiting for the punchline after ye says we need to abolish the 13th amendment pic.twitter.com/jbTTCEv2gF
— ☕netw3rk (@netw3rk) September 30, 2018
And to top it all off, ‘Yandhi’ still hasn’t arrived. What a weekend. Same time next week, Ye?