The world needs more Kanye West’s
The majority of festival goers at this month’s London Wireless Festival were upset with the ‘rant’. These are the first people to point the finger at the hip-hop star and claim that he is too emotional. The same people who rant about their own petty problems of insignificance on a daily basis to someone who has chosen to take time out of their lives to listen. I arrived at the conclusion that most people just enjoy complaining about the same things as other people. I guess they find comfort and happiness in their shared complaining identity. Just as they all found it better to boo Kanye when he spoke about his work and experience within fashion at a music concert. The boos were so loud I couldn’t hear his words but I grasped the general point he was making. I found it interesting standing in the rain listening and observing the situation.
Fashion and music are closely related through sub-culture so I didn’t find what Kanye had to say irrelevant. Kanye West has been an influential person to change fashion within hip-hop culture, upgrading the image from baggy tracksuits, ‘sweats’ and hoods to polo shirts and straight fit jeans. Yes it may not have been what people signed up for at a festival but if Kanye said the same thing over a beat everyone would’ve continued dancing and enjoying his performance. I have a lot of respect for Kanye stepping out of his comfort zone and actually attempting to break the barriers within the music and fashion industries.
People don’t relate to it because they feel a fashion designer rant is too far away from the presets of their own mind. He dreams big and often for people who don’t dream on the same scale they find it annoying. So I understand why they are disinterested. However, Kanye West was using his well deserved platform as a top selling artist to broaden people’s horizon of the problems he faces in a business venture he is actively involved in. In addition the crowd are active consumers of fashion and many concerned with appearing on-trend.
Whether or not you like Kanye’s fashion label or designs his underlying point was clear to me. As he ranted I was trying to name as many world-renowned non-white fashion designers. I didn’t think of many. Yet another sector that is dominated and controlled by few particularly from a supply level. Whilst you wear the latest brand often promoted to you through the same sub culture that Kanye pioneers, who is really getting paid? A question most will not consider when they mindlessly pick something up from the rail or click a pay here button on a website. I would be as happy to see Kanye or any self-made person break through fashion as I was watching Dr Dre break through consumer electronics.
I found it a little sad to see the division that has been predominant in black culture still so prominent today. If Cliff Richard spoke for 20-minutes about a topic close to him, I’m sure his fans would not boo him. People don’t realize that one person’s major breakthrough is a benefit for all and doesn’t limit anyone from using the same potential in their own life. Imagine if people supported each other’s efforts to achieve their dreams instead of complacently boxing them into one packaged form that complies with their own ideas. Just because Kanye sells music does not mean he needs to be restricted to it for life. The fact he is passionate about success in multiple areas shows his growth as a musician, businessman and a person. I would’ve liked to have known if anyone in the crowd has achieved a similar level of growth and achievement within the same time-frame as Kanye.
The music industry is not the same as what it used to be and the margins made on music sales are minimal. The modern day artist is reliant on tours to maintain their lifestyles. However, this takes time and energy to constantly tour often being away from family and friends. It is tiring. Even Drake pulled a sickie on Saturday’s Wireless festival and I thought it was apt and somewhat amusing for Kanye to replace the slot. Therefore, I understand exactly why Kanye wants a fashion brand to diversify his income and leverage his time. Millionaires go broke everyday, but once someone crosses the billionaire boundary they will have no worries about losing their fortune.
Whilst this is logical to understand, many find difficulty in Kanye’s loudness. They don’t like hearing what Kanye’s plans are to improve his life. Jay-Z is likely to have similar plans but he doesn’t shout about it. But my argument would be why do you care if someone is shouting about successes or strifes as long as they are taking steps to seek resoultion? I prefer for someone to tell me upfront, honestly and openly about something they are trying to change than sit in silence saying nothing or simply moan about it. For many this tends to be a big problem as they are conditioned to work out all their problems on their own. This is seen as a ‘manly’ trait but I think it is an unrealistic expectation and as the quote goes ‘expectation is the root of all heartache’. This is because it is impossible for one man alone cannot conquer all. Kanye talking about his problem for 20 minutes gets everyone else talking about the issue so it is win-win for him, especially whilst getting paid. I also find many people get caught up with a lack of time mythology so may say ‘Kanye wasted 20 minutes of my life’. Often the same people who will watch an abundance of reality and trashy TV…possibly an investment in their lives?!
One of the joys of living in our society is the fact you can exercise your right to freedom of speech. Everyone is free to express their opinions as they wish. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with statements made, there is usually something in the wording that may allow you learn something. No one has all the answers, least of all you because if you did you would not be in your current position in life. Of course you need to be willing to listen with intent to understand before your intent to respond. That is the power of communication. I see no need to be deeply offended by someone else’s words. If you cannot handle an opinion you are likely to limit your knowledge and understanding of the world. If someone is saying something you do not like you will have two choices. You can either accept it as their opinion without it disrupting your peace. Or you can simply close your mind and remove yourself from the situation. So if the wireless festival crowd were that upset they should’ve reached for their oyster cards and headed for the exit and let the rest of us enjoy the show and listen to what the man was saying. Of course the masses booed and then stayed until the end of the show and then cheered. Probably the same people who complain about missing ‘classic Kanye’ yet still listen to his new music that becomes progressively experimental each time. This ‘I-don’t-like-my-current-situation-but-will-do-nothing-to-change-it’ attitude is a typical option regularly exercised by the masses.
You paid money to see one of the world’s best artistes so don’t be surprised to see creativity and expressionism through art. I love the fact Kanye is courageous to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants to whoever he wants about anything without fear of controversy or retribution. His self-assurance draws haters but at least he is working towards a solution. And at the same time based on his previous outlandish behavior, be brave enough to apologize/explain when necessary. You may have gathered I’m a Kanye fan so I am biased but will end this blog in the words of the living legend himself “If you’re a Kanye West fan, you’re not a fan of me, you’re a fan of yourself”.