Kanye West: an American Hero


Max Becker, Sports Editor

It is in fact Yeezy season.

Kanye Omari West is one of the most controversial figures of our generation. The rapper-turned-entrepreneur-turned-fashion designer has been making waves recently with his antics on social media. Whether he’s changing the name of his long-awaited album (finally settling on “The Life of Pablo” for reasons that are unclear at best) or voicing his very strong opinion on the race issues in America, it seems that Ye is never afraid to speak his mind. Even when he’s revealing that he’s 53 million dollars in personal debt. Yikes.

Before we jump to any conclusions, let’s take a look at the musical life of the self-proclaimed “Yeezus.” Coming out of Chicago, Kanye first made a name for himself by producing beats for the powerhouse Roc-A-Fella Records, linking up with hip-hop legend Jay-Z and R & B superstar Alicia Keys, before breaking out on the scene with his freshman album, aptly named “The College Dropout.” He then founded his own record label in GOOD Music, and released several more albums to even more commercial and critical success. Currently, Kanye West is one of the best selling artists of all time, selling more than 32 million albums and over 100 million digital downloads across the globe.

There’s no doubting Mr. West’s musical ability (his 21 Grammys speak for themselves), but over the years, he has gathered quite a bit of infamy for his off-stage antics. From proudly declaring that former President George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people, to brazenly interrupting Taylor Swift during her VMA acceptance speech, to his several self-named clothing lines (which have experienced success, especially with his wildly popular “Yeezy Boost” shoe with Adidas), Kanye has a tendency to come off as a tad bit rude. When this is coupled with his narcissistic qualities, you have a recipe for a very polarizing star. It seems that Kanye is either revered or despised, almost as if there is no in-between

Love him or hate him, it is almost impossible not to respect him. In addition to his musical accomplishments, he is also an avid activist in the African-American community. He is constantly challenging oppression and inspiring many others to follow suit. His success as a musician and as a business man reflect his ingenuity, creativity, and his desire to always accomplish more. Simply put, Kanye West has defied all odds and built a multi-platform empire, with himself being the lone emperor.

Personally, I believe Kanye West is an American hero. I applaud his originality and work ethic, and I have nothing but respect for his activism and involvement in the black community. However, Kanye West is an extremely polarizing celebrity, and as with all polarizing celebrities, everybody has an opinion (this IS an opinion piece, isn’t it?). For better or worse, it just so happens that one of Kanye West’s most impressive characteristics is his ability to simply disregard what everybody else says. He doesn’t care about your opinion, he doesn’t care about the media’s opinion, and he certainly doesn’t care about my opinion. Regardless of what anyone thinks, Kanye is going to continue to unapologetically be himself.

And I admire that.