Kanye West: Gone Crazy?
January 31, 2023
Kanye West is a well-known American rapper, record producer, and fashion designer. Having first gained fame in 2004 for his album “The College Dropout,” West has since released several critically-acclaimed and commercially-successful albums. While being well known for his flamboyant and often controversial public persona, as well as his collaborations with other artists in the music industry, he has also dabbled in fashion, releasing his own brand of clothing and sneakers known as “Yeezy” in a partnership with Adidas. West has also been active in the entertainment industry, where he’s won numerous awards for his music, including 21 Grammy Awards. He is also known for his outspoken and controversial statements on various issues.
In recent years, Kanye West has been no stranger to controversy, with one of the most notable controversies being his comments and actions that many perceived as anti-semitic.
The discussion began in May 2018, when West released his album “Yandhi” and subsequently went on a Twitter rant. In the tweet, he spoke about the 13th-century philosopher and Torah commentator Maimonides and made several comments that are seen as anti-Semitic.
In one tweet West wrote, “Moses was the greatest avatar,” and in another, he said, “We need to have open discussions and ideas on unsettled pain.” Many saw these comments as West equating himself to the biblical figure Moses and implying that Jews have caused him pain.
West’s comments sparked widespread backlash, with many accusing him of anti-Semitism and promoting harmful stereotypes about Jewish people. The rapper later apologized for his remarks, but the controversy continues to follow him despite his “apologies.”
In November of the same year, West sparked further outrage when he wore a MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat during a performance on “Saturday Night Live.” The red cap is closely associated with former President Donald Trump and is criticized by many for promoting racist and controversial ideologies.
In an interview with Juha Kim, a freshman at Huntington Beach High School (HBHS), she states, “Kanye West is mentally insane. What he has been saying recently is quite concerning and troubling.”
West’s support of Trump and use of the MAGA hat are seen by many as further evidence of his anti-Semitic beliefs, and West has since faced widespread criticism and backlash for his actions and comments.
In addition to the controversy surrounding his statements and actions, West has also been criticized for his lyrics, which some have seen as promoting anti-Semitic ideas. In West’s song “New Slaves,” for example, West raps about the “media” and “Jews” controlling the world.
Despite the controversy, West has continued to defend his actions and beliefs, insisting that he is not anti-Semitic and that his comments and lyrics have been misunderstood. However, the controversy surrounding his perceived anti-Semitism shows no signs of abating.
Many have seen clips of Kanye “Ye” West’s anti-Semitic rampage. Everyone first considered his mental health concerns when criticizing him, but it appears that some of his admirers have not been affected by his manic episodes.
“His recent actions have been extremely disturbing and disgusting. Considering his target fans predominately consists of naive teenagers, his antisemitic behavior is spreading and being validated due to his fame and influence on the music industry,” says Solana Van Enoo, a freshman student at HBHS.
For his millions of fans that are easily influenced by his platform, the “Kanye Effect” has normalized antisemitism.
Vlad Chiriac, a freshman at HBHS, says, “Kanye is a genius. He has a right to everything he says. He is the smartest music artist out there.”
West’s remarks have propelled extremists out of their shells and given them the confidence to promote and intensify their antisemitism openly, making what was formerly considered taboo in public debate become commonplace.
When white nationalists spread West’s message on the LA freeways, we saw the immediate results of his remarks. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the culprits belonged to the Goyim Defense League, a loose association of virulently antisemitic conspiracy theorists.
Kanye West’s recent actions and statements have raised concerns about his views on antisemitism, and while the rapper has apologized for his past comments, it is important to hold public figures accountable for their words and actions. It is crucial to acknowledge the harm caused by antisemitism and work towards creating a society where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. It is important to continue to have a critical examination of the way antisemitism is expressed in our society, and to take a firm stance against any form of hate speech or discriminatory behavior.