From the beginning of his public life, Kanye West was filled with bravery and an assurance of his artistic talent. This is not unusual for someone who wants to create something completely new. If you don’t just want to rearrange something that already exists, high spirits are a must. West, an artist who now calls himself Ye, found success in music and that success brought him fame; it was the path to wealth but also to toxic hubris.
for nearly 20 years, fame was the mitigating factor in his relationship with any new industry he sought to plunder. It has lured politicians trying to bask in the warmth of its headlights; it has sent business leaders down dangerous paths. It has inspired volumes of cultural analysis; it created that very column.
Fame is the attribute that has made the fashion industry hostage to West’s whims. It’s the currency that makes us marvel at his misdeeds because we just can’t believe fame is fool’s gold. The fad was the prelude to this latest conflagration — the one that sparked the anti-Semitic comments that led to West being locked out of social media and prompted him to deliver a two-hour self-aggrandizing sermon to Tucker Carlson on Fox News.
During his recent Yeezy fashion show in Paris, he wore a t-shirt that read “White Lives Matter,” which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as a “racist reaction to the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement.” He had a similar shirt as part of the presentation. West told Carlson the shirt was his way of stating the obvious. One wishes that were true.
The words are not easily divorced from the racially-tense context they grew out of, the degree to which they were armed by white supremacists, and ultimately the messenger’s unreliability.
West never simply said anything. He speaks in elliptical phrases and provocative insinuations. They are filled with vulgarity, distrust and paranoia.
The fashion industry, with which West has a long and abusive relationship, seems to irk him in particular. He’s the domineering interloper intent on letting the industry know what he doesn’t like. It’s the business he set out to conquer with unbridled love and intent.
His first design attempt, a spring 2012 collection presented in Paris, was a disastrous affair. The clothes didn’t fit. The aesthetic was derived from labels like Balenciaga and Rick Owens.
Fashion was the first industry in which he used his fame to gain entry. fashion teased him; it tolerated him; it did business with him. Adidas had a lightning strike with its Yeezy sneakers. The Gap signed a deal with West and got a baggy parka with no clasps for all his troubles. Fashion made peace with him, but she refused to elevate him as he so often demanded.
West’s celebrity status has us watching and listening, and every time he says something incomprehensible or gruesome, we cringe as if shocked again, as if he hadn’t been terrible before. We react as if we believe that fame is a safeguard against horrible behavior, that those who know they are being watched will aim to look their best rather than use all that attention as a lure to action .
When West began speaking out about a presidential bid, the political establishment and the average voter took heed and considered what that might mean for democracy.
This wasn’t because West had ever before indicated that he was interested in high office, or that he’d surrounded himself with political agents and gadflies, or that the establishment had launched a draft Kanye campaign.
It was because he was famous and people are influenced by that. That’s because we couldn’t forget that Donald Trump was a celebrity before he became president. No, we could never forget that.
But for the most part, we couldn’t shake the ingrained belief that fame is the equivalent of wisdom, integrity, and achievement. We still manage to be shocked when famous people do stupid things. We’re baffled when celebrities are abusive, vindictive, or petty.
We expect more from celebrities – for absolutely no good reason.
Then we glee when they screw things up and their mistakes become outrageous because we’ve convinced ourselves that fame is golden.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/fame-brought-kanye-west-riches-but-also-toxic-hubris-42062365.html Fame brought Kanye West wealth, but also toxic hubris