“damn, Ye dont u know rule number one in america???
don’t mess with the young white girl….they dont use rope no more but they still lynchin n*ggas.”
—Posted on NahRight, September 13.
Make no mistake. I love the man. 2007, it was all Kanye all the time in my house. ‘Graduation’ was almost the first album in years I could play from beginning to end [sorry, ‘Drunk n’ Hot Girls’]. I made epic dual disc mix-CDs of his best solo and production work. Commissioning Takashi Murakami to create his album artwork was genius, and only made me love him more. His Glow in the Dark tour was one of the most epic productions ever attempted by a hip-hop artist.
But 2007 seems like a long time ago.
We own ‘808s and Heartbreak’ in our house. The Lady wanted it. Frankly, I could forgive the Auto-tune, but on the whole I found the album cold and soulless. But I understood. Given the year he had leading up to its release, there was no way Kanye could not have made an album like that. What remained to be seen is if he could come back down to earth, or if he even wanted to.
Judging from last night’s debacle, I’d say we have our answer: our boy ‘Ye has entered his Brian Wilson phase. His first mistake was thinking VMAs are actually awarded on merit, his second was thinking that Beyonce would actually care that much if she won one. At this point, Sasha Fierce is using Moonmen to spool her toilet paper. But that’s not what I found most curious about the incident. I was interested in what the incident suggests about racial politics in Obama’s America, an issue summed up pretty succinctly in the above comment post.
Call it liberal guilt, call it faulty wiring, but when something like this happens, I don’t see ‘Oh, Kanye’s being a douche again.’ I see, ‘Oh, shit, a big scary black man is making a delicate white girl cry.’ It would have been wrong in either case, but if the races were reversed, I don’t know that outcry would have been *as* deafening as it was in the three hours after the stunt. Following the incident, another pair of doe-eyed child stars, both white, came onstage to pout that Taylor Swift deserved her award. An hour later, Diddy said Kanye’s name and didn’t know why the crowd broke out with boos. What stays in the minds of some vanishes from the minds of others.
By show close, Beyonce herself, sweet angel of mercy, gave Swift her moment, bringing us all back together in racial harmony and drawing our narrative to a close, hopefully.
I don’t know, friends. Perhaps I’m overthinking. Maybe I’m just mourning the downfall of a genius artist who’s lost all self-awareness and gone so far off the rails that Amber Rose is rethinking her career path. Or maybe, as Obama Year One draws to a close, when America no longer sees race, I’m just always on the lookout for the hangover to start.
Postcript: With all he’s written on hip-hop, why does Michael Eric Dyson not have a book out on Yeezy? That would be momentous.