Kenneth L. Hardin: I wish people would stop caring about Kanye West

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 6, 2022

I used to enjoy listening to rapper Kanye West’s music until I realized he doesn’t care about Black people. Although he lodged that accusation at former President George W. Bush in 2005 during a nationally televised benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims, Kanye has shown he doesn’t care about people at all.

Ye, as he prefers to be called, has demonstrated such inconsistency in thought and instability in behavior over the last several years, I can’t support or defend the man. The Jewish community is upset with him for uttering antisemitic tropes recently. Black people are saying his offensive and conspiratorial statements are accurate and reflective of the lopsided relationship between the two.

In one of his many defenses, which operates on a continuous sliding scale, Ye said he can’t be antisemitic because Jews are actually Black people. He argued that when he refers to Jews, he’s speaking about the 12 lost Tribes of Judah, who Black people derived from.

He threw verbal daggers at Planned Parenthood and its founder Margaret Sanger. He believes the organization was a collaboration between her and the Ku Klux Klan, and was created to control the growth of the Black population

The talented musician, who called his words “Love Speech,” went on to attack the music industry by saying white Jewish executives have so much control over the industry, they’ll purposely destroy the careers of anyone who opposes their agenda. In a somewhat emotionally unhinged rage-like rant, he accused the same executives of turning his celebrity friends against him, purposely breaking up his family and taking his kids from him. He angrily and profanely called out notable Black musical artists like Sean “Diddy” Combs, accusing them of cowardice for not standing behind his assertions about the Jewish control of the music industry.

There was so much more he shared that big name companies like Balenciaga, adidas, TJ Maxx, the Gap, Foot Locker, and many more severed business ties with Ye. The rapper’s net worth reportedly dropped from nearly $2 billion to somewhere around $400 million in less than a week. He won’t be eating beenie-weenies anytime soon, but the way you make rich people hurt is make them less rich.

I’m so exhausted with my social media timeline being filled up every day with stories about Ye and this issue. Honestly, I’m sick of the whole story because of the hypocrisy from both sides of the racial isle. White people are taking his words and are trying to prove that bigotry and racism exists externally and they don’t own the sole patent. This is not new and they’ve shown in the past how fast and quick they flex their muscles to defend any negative representation of Jewish culture. Back in 1995, the late musical icon, Michael Jackson, ran afoul of the Jewish community when he wrote the line, “Jew me, sue me, kick me, kike me, but don’t you Black and white me…” in the song, “They Don’t Care About Us.” Jewish leaders demanded Jackson remove the offensive lyrics and he and Sony records complied. At an enormous cost, the album was pulled, the lyrics deleted and the singer went back into the studio and re-recorded the song. I wish Black so called leaders cared enough about the image of Black culture to rise up and demand better in our music and movies.

Major record labels, which are not owned by Black people, happily dole out pennies to any Black artist willing to stand in front of a microphone and string together derogatory and offensive lyrics that degrades Black women, promotes intra-racial violence, and debases Black culture. Where are our leaders that will demand that this sad ritual in entertainment cease? Why are these so-called artists so willing to compromise their cultural values and lessen their integrity for a record contract? Why is the N-word so readily accepted in popular music and not treated in the same way as Michael Jackson was? When Ye weaponized the White Lives Matter slogan against Black people, said Slavery was a choice, made disparaging remarks about Harriet Tubman and other heroic figures in the fight, cozied up to a traitorous President, where was the outrage from both sides? What you tolerate you allow and we have too many tolerant, appeasing and compromising Black so called leaders. They’re so afraid of losing access and acceptance, they won’t speak up and out on this issue and demand an end to this modern-day buffoonery. I wish we had a staunch defender of our image. The Jewish community has The Simon Wiesenthal Center that holds people accountable who portray their community in a disrespectful manner. We have nothing but failed organizations like the NAACP that will carry everyone else’s water except for people of color.

Unlike Ye, I love Black people, and all people.

Kenneth L. (Kenny) Hardin is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.