The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

Kanye West and cancel culture take over social media

One example of Kanye West’s most recent posts on Instagram

Nearly 26 years since the start of his career as a successful producer, designer, and rapper, Kanye West continues to make headlines across the internet. West has certainly sparked fierce controversy in the past. He once interrupted Taylor Swift’s 2009 VMA’s acceptance speech. Years later, he tweeted “BILL COSBY INNOCENT!!!!!!!” and deemed slavery “a choice.”

There have been many individuals to which the rapper has divulged his resent. On February 19, West shared a complete archive of everyone he has ‘beef’, or conflict with, featuring 35 names. As anticipated, Pete Davidson landed the list, joined by big names including Drake, Kid Cudi, and Billie Eilish.

Over the past month following his public divorce with beauty mogul Kim Kardashian, fans have actively watched Kanye plunge into his latest social media tirade. Not only does he target his ex-wife in a number of opinionated Instagram posts, but he mentions her boyfriend, Pete Davidson, to further stir the pot.

The extent of this new feud doesn’t end there. On March 3, just hours after Kardashian was declared legally single, West released a music video for his Donda 2 track “Eazy”. While claymation saves the video from being overly graphic, it nevertheless depicts West kidnapping Davidson, followed by burying him alive. The artist also raps with what appears to be a dummy version of the Saturday Night Live star’s severed head in his grip.

“Artsy…yes.” determines journalist Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, “But also problematic, especially considering the events of the past couple weeks.” While many fans praised West for his work, several expressed their concern for the disturbing nature of the video. Others merely identified his sheer pettiness, leaving comments like, “Kayne’s making songs like a middle schooler during his first breakup.”

While West has received extensive backlash for the “Eazy” video, his career seems to remain intact regardless. Many of his followers were able to laugh off the entire act, as they often do after he makes a spectacle of himself. So here arises the question: how does Kanye manage to stay afloat in an industry under constant threat of cancel culture? “And what does his invincibility — or, rather, our refusal to hold him accountable — say about us?” inquires Derek Deng of Duke University’s The Chronicle.

Meghan McCain, prominent television personality and author, poses an answer, exposing the double standard of cancel culture. She recalls West’s erratic actions over the years, from informally running for president to breaking down in public. In untangling Kayne’s current behavior, McCain’s article exposes a deeper issue in the media: the limitations of accountability.

McCain voices that if Kanye wasn’t a megastar, but rather an average person, there would be significantly less tolerance for his actions towards his ex-wife and her new boyfriend. “I would go so far as to say if Kanye were still a megastar rapper but [a woman], he would not be given the leeway that he is granted by so many in the media and there would be more accountability for his behavior,” says McCain. If a woman was rather the subject of conversation, McCain believes that her unraveling would generate more discussion than her musical ‘genius’.

“Why is it that we are continuing to give Kanye, a 44-year-old man, the benefit of the doubt and not extend the same sympathy to Kim?” McCain further asserts, “Is it because she is a woman? Is it because she has opened her life to us so much that we feel like she is now a commodity instead of simply a mother with four children being threatened publicly?” After all, it seems that the media is more concerned with how Davidson managed to pull one of the world’s most beautiful women, as opposed to Kim’s safety as a victim of emotional harassment.

The incessant Kanye drama suggests that cancel culture has its limitations when it comes to power and gender. Opinions aside, consumers must understand that though this drama is chaotic and exciting, the truths proposed in the media are likely exaggerated. West has been open about his mental health struggles after his diagnosis of bipolar disorder in 2016. This could possibly explain his recent behavior, and although the media may not excuse his actions, it can still important to acknowledge his perspective. Celebrities or not, there is likely unfathomable pain on all fronts, even Kanye’s. Under the question of accountability, the common public can aim to identify the human behind one’s actions, while still placing responsibility where it is due.

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