Is Kanye West a new alt-right icon? That’s the question many Kanye fans are wondering as after his string of tweets this past week, ranging from pseudo-psychological thoughts to his love of Tesla to outright conservative support.
Early Monday afternoon, Kanye was tweeting out snippets of a video made by Scott Adams, “Dilbert” cartoonist and Trump supporter. Then, on April 21, he tweeted, “I love the way Candace Owens thinks”. Owens is an alt-right, red pill YouTube personality who is known for calling Black Lives Matter protesters “white toddlers pretending to be oppressed for attention.”
Meanwhile, Adams, “Dilbert” cartoonist, is known for saying rape is a “natural instinct” for men and that society “has evolved to keep males in a state of continuous unfulfilled urges”. Then, on Monday, Kanye proclaimed his love for Trump once again on Hot 97’s morning show “Ebro in the Morning”. This all begs the question: What happened to the Kanye who said on live TV “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”?
The New Yorker’s Amanda Petrusich wrote about the phenomenon of celebrities and erratic tweeting.
In the decades before social media took hold of our lives, access to celebrities was, obviously, more mediated. Platforms like Twitter allow famous people to eliminate the intermediary—to speak openly, directly, and immediately to millions of fans. That this occasionally reveals erratic or unusual behavior can feel revelatory, because we are accustomed to curated perfection from celebrities. But perhaps what we’re actually learning is something we already knew: that people are complex and inconsistent.
We’re now having to learn how to deal with seeing the PR veneer of celebritydom fall away — or perhaps become more insidious. Kanye’s tweets seem at odds with some of his lyrics, and yet people are complicated. His tweet spree has also been sprinkled with music announcements along the way — he’s apparently releasing an album June 1, a dual album with Kid Cudi on June 8, and releases from Teyana Taylor, Pusha T, and Nas.
It’s hard to know, as a Kanye fan, how to reconcile someone’s views with their work — the age-old predicament. But we can listen to his new album and also be troubled by his views. Some are saying, in fact, that his tweets are a way to stir up buzz for his album, but it also could be something else at play. As the millions of Americans who voted for Trump were searching for, Kanye may be looking for a something different, a new, unconventional way of thinking. But now, his tweets are making him a celebrity for the alt-right, with conservative activist Charlie Kirk tweeting, “Today @kanyewest had some incredible words to say about the amazing @RealCandaceO”.
Here’s to hoping that very soon, Kanye’s Twitter goes back to the funny Twitter we knew and loved, like this tweet: