Celebrities & Their Political Views

Erick Bojorquez

        Kanye West, the world’s leader in narcissistic rappers and and patting your own back, has recently voiced his support for President Trump. This has caused many of his devoted fans to start asking the question, “is it possible to separate an artist’s political views from their art?” In the era of social media, many musicians express their political views, which which tends to divide their fan bases. This is the case for Kanye West. Some of his fans support him even more now, while some hate him because of his opinion, and some flat out don’t care. So what’s right, and what’s wrong? Should one stop listening to Kanye’s music or not?

        In my opinion, it is entirely up to every individual. There is no clear right or wrong answer because the answer itself is intertwined with the moral and ethical views of the consumer. Essentially, neither option is “bad.” If you still like Kanye West—even though he supports Trump and you don’t, that’s fine—and if you don’t like Kanye, that’s fine too. However, I recommend that if you are going to start judging Kanye for his personal beliefs and actions, you should judge other artists as well.

        When it comes to rappers, many have sketchy backgrounds. In a good rapper, this trauma-filled past can often fuel their music, making it incredible and powerful. Take Kid Cudi, for example: he is an amazing rapper, but his past has been marked with drug abuse and mental health issues, to the point where the rapper admitted himself into rehab. It was this trauma, however, that fueled his music and made it both incredible and relatable to so many fans. Thus, his music is intertwined with his identity.

        On the other hand, rappers like Tupac Shakur—another incredibly influential artist who was a known gang member—present their own problems. He was accused, and convicted, of rape. This isn’t to say that you can compare political opinions to rape, but if you aren’t okay with relatively less offensive ones, why do you let others slip by? An artist’s life, ideals, and beliefs should be intertwined with their art–and if it’s a good artist, it will be intertwined–but it is okay to let their views go sometimes. You don’t have to hate everything that has been touched by something (or someone) you disagree with. Especially when you take into consideration that most things you like tend to be tainted by things you don’t like, and that’s okay. If you still like Kanye West, good. More power to you. If you don’t, cool, good for you.

Kanye West is an influential artist—one who is very well-known around the world. He has inspired a lot of people through his art; however, to have some who you consider to be inspiring support someone you dislike is bound to cause internal conflict. For example, a parent would not want their child to be influenced by someone the parent disagrees with. That’s understandable, regardless of whether or not you support Trump.

Trump has done a lot of controversial things, and you might resent him for those things, and therefore you might resent West for supporting him. That’s understandable. West is the one who is choosing to publicly support him, and that gives you the right to dislike West for his support of Trump. Right? Well, on paper it sounds relatively simple. An artist’s art should be an extension of themselves; therefore, if you don’t like the artist, you shouldn’t like their art. However, real life is not that simple. I certainly don’t think murder is acceptable, but I do enjoy Tupac’s music.

This entire discussion does not have, as I’ve already stated, a right or wrong answer, and it’s foolish to think it does. I don’t like Kanye West, regardless of his political views. He’s arrogant, uppity, and he isn’t the type of person I would like to meet, but there are a few of his songs, and collaborations, that I truly enjoy. Does this make me a hypocrite? To some people it does, to others it doesn’t. However, that in it of itself is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a personal decision.

At the end of the day, a person’s opinion on this matter should not, and cannot, be influenced by the opinions of others. It isn’t black and white, in fact it’s entirely grey, which is common for a lot of modern issues. A person needs to do what is considered the unthinkable in today’s world, and form their own opinions based on facts and free of outside influence.