Kanye West: From Influential to Controversial

Vinay Srinivasan, Staff Writer

Kanye West has been a target of criticism for the majority of his career. Whether it be tweeting about abolishing the 13th Amendment, legally changing his name to Ye, ranting about president Trump on Saturday Night Live, or performing live in a bulletproof chamber due to fear of being attacked, Kanye West’s actions seem to keep attracting just as many critics as fans.

Perhaps the most shocking statements by Kanye in recent times were his two tweets about the 13th Amendment.

The 13th Amendment was the famous amendment to the United States Constitution that abolished slavery. Many were stunned as to why Kanye West would suggest reinstating slavery and if he truly believed it was a good idea.

In an interview on TMZ he clarified what he meant by his remark on SNL to “abolish” the 13th Amendment.

“Abolish was the wrong language. I misspoke. Amend is the right language. What’s beautiful about our Constitution is we can amend it. [The 13th Amendment] translates to in order to make a freed man a slave, all you have to do is convict them of a crime. There are [prisoners] getting paid 8 cents a week working for companies that are privately owned and a lot of them are first-time offenders,” said Kanye West.

At his live performance at the annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, Kanye surprised everyone by performing in a huge chamber made of bulletproof glass. Some suspect that he did this due to paranoia of being attacked while others say it was simply for effect and to enhance the performance.

Christopher Victorio for OC Weekly
Kanye and Kid Cudi made their group debut performing in a suspended clear box at Camp Flog Gnaw.

Fans of Kanye West are divided. Many early supporters of Kanye West are embracing his transformation and change in characters, while others are starting to lose their interest and stop supporting Kanye due to his recent antics.

“I have been a fan of Kanye West since 2010 when I fell in love with his album 808s and Heartbreaks. I still love his music but I’m not sure if I can morally support someone who says outrageous things that can be offensive just to garner attention and increase traffic to his music” said Nitish Doss (‘19).

Conversely, there are those who are just now becoming fans of Kanye and are attracted to his extremely unique and outspoken personality.

“I respect how Kanye is not afraid to speak his mind and share his opinions even though many are unpopular. I think he is using his popularity to stand up for what he believes in and I started to get into his music because of that” said Aditya Bhandari (‘20).

There are also those who do not believe that an artists actions of beliefs should affect whether or not they enjoy their music.

“I enjoy Kanye’s music and I have for a long time. While I’m not really a fan of his outlandish personality, I’m not going to let that ruin his music for me” said Akshay Dubey (‘22).

People’s perception of Kanye West has evolved over the last few years. It is clear though that he is one of the most influential artists of this generation and continues to be the subject of controversy with his extremely polarizing personality.