Everyone is talking about Kanye, and little of the talk has to do with his new album. As you already know, last week 'Ye spoke out against the treatment of the Black victims of Hurricane Katrina, and even went as far to say on live TV, "George Bush doesn't care about Black people."
That was Friday.
Since then, Kanye's statements have traveled far and wide. I've seen links to the video on dozens of blogs, hip-hop or not. Nightline spoke about it. The NY Daily News wrote about it.
My friend told me that a guy on his campus was handing out flyers about the issues Kanye touched on just the next day. This morning, New York's Hot 97 radio station replayed the audio of Kanye's courageous statement multiple times while the hosts yelled, "Go Kanye!" in the background. Some people called in, expressing their support. Others didn't like the timing of Kanye's message, since it was during a fund raiser for the Red Cross.
You know what this reminds me of? This:
This is our 1968 Olympics with Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their Black Power fists in the air. They were not well received by everyone, just as Kanye isn't.
While the protest seems relatively tame by today's standards, the actions of Smith and Carlos were met with such outrage that they were suspended from their national team and banned from the Olympic Village, the athletes' home during the games.
A lot of people thought that political statements had no place in the supposedly apolitical Olympic Games. Those that opposed the protest cried out that the actions were militant and disgraced Americans. Supporters, on the other hand, were moved by the duo's actions and praised them for their bravery. The protest had lingering effects for both men, the most serious of which were death threats against them and their families.
Don't be surprised if the backlash Kanye receives includes death threats, cancelled concerts, and boycotts of his records. And don't be shocked if even other Blacks are unsupportive of him. It happened before, and will happen again.
- Ian of Different Kitchen calls the Hurricane Katrina crisis, "Black America's 9/11."
- Also, Kris Ex says of Katrina, "...this may prove to be one of the most pivotal moments of our generation."