“We’re at war with terrorism, racism, but most of all we’re at war with ourselves.”
I imagine Kanye West at his first presidential rally opening with the first lines of his widely influential song,
At this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, West concluded an acceptance speech by saying, “I don’t know what I finna lose after this. It don’t matter, though. It’s not about me. It’s about ideas. New ideas. People with ideas. People who believe in truth. And yes, as you probably could’ve guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”
Don’t laugh. All things considered, West is a viable presidential candidate. West’s lack of official political experience does not write him off; he is a self-made African-American entrepreneur and a
West’s familiarity with politics began with his navigation through the socioeconomic labyrinth of Chicago.
His upbringing has led him to advocate for education reform by founding the Kanye West Foundation in 2005 with his mother, Dr. Donda West. According to the The New York Times, the his foundation raised “an average of $492,000” and disbursed “grants averaging $18,080” each year from 2007-2009. The money was used to aid schools in creating more innovative programs for youth education, before unfortunately ending following his mother’s death
One may be tempted to picture West inappropriately interrupting world leaders and members of Congress in such a way that would be consistent with his several media disasters. However, if one doubts West’s ability to build negotiations and compromise, look no further than the grand empire he has built for himself during his
As a young producer in the late 2000s, West convinced the most prominent hip-hop artist of the time to convert to an entirely different style of music. Under West’s production, Jay-Z and the rest of his brand shifted from rapping mostly about crime and attaining riches to writing about more heartfelt and human issues such as love in “Song Cry” and the plight of African Americans in the United States with “Can’t Be Life.”
West’s skills are not just limited to his music. He has also partnered with Adidas and various fashion labels to create a widely successful franchise, resulting in the release of his Yeezy 350s shoes and a Donda clothing line. His success in fashion is also symbolically monumental because of the way West went about achieving them: he did not just endorse a fashion line or sneaker, but wanted to design them himself.
West fought to get the respect of the fashion community by learning from fashion icons and artists of the craft, so it is not unfathomable to imagine him cunningly navigating through the politics on Capitol Hill by learning from those more experienced than him.
West’s vision is probably the most striking element of his character. From the beginning of his career, he has spoken out about the issues of racial, gender and economic inequality.
One of the most revealing depictions into his views on race and class was in a 2013 BBC One radio interview where West said that “classism is the new racism.” He continued by speaking about the term “exclusivity” as “the new N word,” highlighting the role economics plays to marginalize individuals and measure their value.
West’s dedication to social justice, particularly in the economic sector, would really connect with voters, especially those from low-income families.
The only real obstacle for West is the backlash he would receive from the career politicians in Washington who would spitefully work to stunt his career.
While a presidential inauguration for West is highly unlikely, the city of Chicago can take solace in the fact that it already put one of its best in the White House.
And whose image has inspired people from all walks of life to take bigger roles in the politics of our
Featured image credit: Jason Persse