is an immensely talented man. He's got 3 number one albums, 2 American Music Awards, 2 World Music Awards, 9 BET Awards, 12 Grammys…the list goes on and on. MTV named him the hottest MC in the game for 2008, placing him above the likes of Jay-Z
, Lil Wayne
, Snoop Dogg
, and T.I.
He successfully transitioned from producer to rapper, and then again (less successfully, but still decently) from rapper to singer. Truth be told, Kanye West is probably one of the few people in the world who has earned the right to be arrogant.
So why is he so hated for it? Why is he so reviled for what amounts to nothing more than an oversized ego? In a world where Chris Brown
beats the hell out of Rihanna
and T.I. gets caught stockpiling automatic weapons, does it make any kind of sense that Kanye West is public enemy number one?
In a weird, misguided way, yes it does.
Ours is a world based on image, and that means more than the clothes somebody wears, or the car somebody drives. It literally means that people are judged based on what they are seen doing. If someone carries themselves correctly out in public, they are more likely to be forgiven for the reprehensible things they do in private. That's why Chris Brown's on his way to getting his career back - because no one saw him beat Rihanna. Sure, everyone saw the aftermath, the pictures, but no one saw the act itself. Same with T.I. - no one saw him setting up his gun deal or paying off his bodyguard. All we saw was the end result, and the end result was done correctly. Chris Brown was shamed, remorseful. T.I. accepted his punishment like a man. That's what makes the public happy. That's what makes stories go away.
Now let's look at Kanye West. At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, he stormed the stage during Taylor Swift
's acceptance speech for winning "Best Female Video," and proceeded to tell the world that he thought Beyonce should have won. At the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards
, he stormed the stage during Justice and Simian's acceptance speech for winning "Best Video," and proceeded to tell the world that he should have won. In 2004, he stormed out of the American Music Awards after losing the "Best New Artist" award to Gretchen Wilson
. What do all of Kanye's stormings have in common? They all happen in extremely public settings, and that's where all the hate comes from.
Is it right? Not really. Looking at the big picture, the worst thing Kanye West has ever done is have a loud and public temper tantrum. But this world is about image, and it's hard to have sympathy for a man who can't seem to understand that.
That's why no one ever talks about his charitable work and the multiple good causes that he contributes to. That's why there is no residual sympathy from his horrific car accident, or the tragic death of his mother. That's how Kanye West is wasting fame, and it's too bad, because he deserves to be recognized as one of the most diversely talented artists of our time.
Image © Adam Bielawski / PR Photos
The blame doesn't all fall on him, though. As ironic as it is that someone like Kanye doesn't realize that his image is fueling his downfall, it is equally sad that the general public can't realize that the man hasn't done anything that bad. Yes, Kanye behaves like a jerk, but what does the public response say about our society? Where are our priorities when we call Kanye a sinner and revere Tupac like a saint?
It seems wrong. It is wrong.
And if we truly hate Kanye West for his outbursts, then we're pretty messed up ourselves.
Story by Jose Flores
Starpulse contributing writer