Kanye West made a return to Twitter recently, but is he making any sense at all?
After a year hiatus Kanye West is back on Twitter and he is doing what he does best: making people angry. So far he’s ruminated on the nature of consciousness, bragged about his vast wealth, used the phrase “dragon energy” a lot and professed his love for Donald Trump.
A lot of it sounds like the sort of empty philosophising you might find on an Urban Outfitters coffee table book. The tweets move from the confusingly abstract: “decentralize”. To the fully deranged: “truth is my goal. Controversy is my gym. I’ll do a hundred reps of controversy for a 6 pack of truth”.
It is difficult to understand what is going on here. But maybe Kanye is what he says he is, an archangel figure prophesying the future of human society to the ignorant masses. Maybe this is another leather-jogging-pant moment and we will all be dutifully nodding in agreement when we find ourselves doing reps of controversy in exchange for truth?
Kanye’s comments on free-speech and democratic sharing of ideas may sound slightly awry: “Free thinkers don’t fear retaliation for your thoughts. The traditional thinkers are only using thoughts and words but they are in a mental prison. You are free. You’ve already won. Feel energized. Move in love not fear. Be afraid of nothing.” But he’s always been an iconoclast, provoking outcry only for us to buy into it later.
We all laughed at his interview with Zane Lowe in 2013 where he rants about the power of design But he ended up speaking at Harvard and Yeezy’s are now more popular than Air Jordan’s.
Meanwhile, his wife Kim Kardashian waded in to explain that he is simply ahead of the cultural zeitgeist: “Kanye will never run in the race of popular opinion and we know that and that’s why I love him and respect him and in a few years when someone else says the same exact thing but they aren’t labeled the way he is and you will all praise them! Kanye is years ahead of his time.”
Perhaps in 2019 we mere mortals will be reading Kanye’s manifesto on the structure of the mind.
On the more questionable end of the tweet scale, Kanye was professing admiration for Republicans and America’s far-right. He endorsed Candace Owens a conservative commentator who once called Black Lives Matter “whiny toddlers” and disregarded the problem of police violence against black Americans.
Owens is also the communications director of national campus organisation TPUSA, known mainly for having a member put on a nappy to protest safe spaces. Kanye also posted multiple videos of Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip and a cult figure among the alt-right.
But perhaps most unnerving was Kanye’s decision to shower praise on Donald Trump: “You don’t have to agree with trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.” Before tweeting a photo of a signed Make America Great Again baseball cap. Trump responded to Kanye in a tweet: “Thank you Kanye, very cool!”.
Kanye might be a provocateur, but these comments are particularly shocking coming from a man who once said on live TV “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”. It is uncomfortable to now see him express love for a President who once called African nations “shit holes.” Maybe Kanye should be left to alone to indulge in his “free speech” or maybe it’s time for him to just log out.