Kanye West is criminal in his behavior toward the African American community and hip-hop fans. It’s more of an assault on African American progress. West’s insulting comment against the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, and his attempt to demean and reduce her to mediocrity is nothing short of a paralyzing tragedy. His disrespect and common behavior toward her seems to be too often tolerated at a growing level in our community. His was an ignorant attack on a revered African American woman that culminated in attacks on his significant other, who is the mother of his child.
Each negative behavior is actually sinister; it’s disrespectful to black women and to the wife of our first African American president, Barack Obama. Too much of this ignorance is tolerated. Why is there silence among his peers and profit partners in rhyme? It’s a continued malfeasance by an African American hip-hop icon. It’s disrespectful to African American institutions and icons like President Obama’s family and Rev. Al Sharpton.
Hip-hop has disguised itself as a critic of society. Yet, it has turned on itself by insulting African Americans. We’ve turned on each other versus those who cut welfare and public aid and funding to our HBCUs. Our criticisms are aimed at the wrong target. We’ve convinced ourselves we’re our own enemy.
Hip-hop icons like Kanye West are as irresponsible as they choose to be and less respectful than they should be. Yet, they are tolerated and invited to speak on radio and television for interviews about their irrational, erratic and disrespectful behavior. No one wonders why general market media would allow African Americans to appear on television acting ignorant.
Literally, individuals who commit these acts must be seen as enemies to our integrity. Their acts will promote more profiling and targeting of individuals while shopping and omission from meetings where not doing business with us are the topic of discussion. The hiring redlining that occurs will only be exacerbated and unemployment will continue to rise. These disparities that African Americans experience are not often verbalized in today’s raps.
The progress in our community rests on those who cop our society, cop our culture and cop the essence of respect for African American families, fathers and mothers. It is reflected in the continued copying of dances that are no longer owned by us, like twerking, and yet we’re raising the status of someone who has copied a dance that we popularized in our community.
Kanye West has expressed a monstrous ideology that will be copied by others who will attack our first lady, African American women, and the reason will mirror the sentiments why N-word is used. Their reasoning will be that Kanye West and others in hip-hop opened the door and invited them in.
The assault on African American women increases everyday and is evidenced by the disregard and disrespect aired on television. The negative images insult our African American queens, mothers, aunts, sisters and daughters’ intellect. There’s no favor when celebrating those who disrespect our first lady, but we are afraid to stand up to the broadcasters, national and international media that showcase these individuals depicted as “rich,” even though they demean the integrity of our community. The impact will no doubt negatively impact our future.