ten things i learned from kanye west

kanyea few months ago, i told a group of friends that i refused to listen to any more of  kanye west’s music.  after his album graduation, things just got weird. his mainstream success seemed to have bred a pretty rank materialism, and i couldn’t relate anymore.  in light of all the media hoopla as of late — a baby named north who is part kardashian, constant fights with paparazzi and a new album titled yeezus (rhymes with jesus) — i thought i was safe to give a side eye whenever someone mentioned his name.  imagine my surprise when i watched kanye’s full BBC interview and began to actually relate.

after experiencing laughter, anger, empathy and confusion, i’m pretty clear that kanye is an artistic genius who will tantrum his way into recognition. while i still find some of his struggles unrelatable (he complained about fendi not accepting his designs, including the “omnipresent” leather jogging pant), i also bang really hard with his socio-political analysis regarding race and class.

here are my thoughts on 10 gems from kanye’s historical interview:

value yourself

  1. “people are slowed down by their perceptions of themselves.  i was taught that i can do anything, and i’m kanye west at age 36.  just watch the next 10 years.”  possess an undying love and appreciation for yourself — it’s your job to be your biggest fan.
  2. “go listen to all my music.  it’s the codes of self-esteem.  it’s the codes of who you are. if you’re a kanye west fan, you’re not a fan of me, you’re a fan of yourself.” not only should we posses an undying love and appreciation for ourselves, but it’s also necessary to be keenly aware of how we bless others.
  3. “you will win with me.” we have the power to change our karma and win in these streets.  it’s all about unlocking our unlimited potential.
  4. “dopeness is what i like the most.” why settle for mediocrity when dopeness is at your fingertips?
  5. “when i say i am a God people say who does he think he is? i just told you, a God.”  granted, i’ve never walked on water or fed thousands with two fish and a loaf of bread, but i do recognize that we’ve been created in the creator’s image.  that makes us all a reflection of greatness and power.

racism and classism

  1. “we can’t do it on our own.  we have to stop discriminating against each other due to class and race.”  amen.
  2. “you drive in your maybach past a homeless person and you ask yourself who’s more free.  you can be trapped by your possessions.”  mo money, mo problems — materialism and greed severely limit the positivity that could flow from an access to wealth.
  3. “self-hate — it’s like owning real estate in racism.”  we’re left with the scars while folx with privilige reap the rewards. unfortunately, self-hate is an asset that appreciates as one continues to encounter racism.

artistic expression

  1. “i’m not limited to one place of creativity.”  we have a need to place celebrities in a box; however, they’re complex humans who should have the opportunity to evolve.  further, black men are allowed to have interests that don’t include sports or music — kanye is clear that he is not a rapper, but an artist who is bursting at the seams with creativity that he feels he can’t express.
  2. “i’ve brought ten years of product that has added to humanity.”  while we may debate the value of kanye’s product, no one can say he won’t create a lasting impression on this earth.   this point made me think, ‘what am i adding to humanity?’

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