The Weight of Kanye’s Words and Why We Cannot Defend Him

November 4, 2022
Sydney Bienstock

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

Class of 2024

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If you have been on the internet recently, I’m sure you have seen something that Kanye West has posted. Whether it has been racism, misogyny, or anti-Semitism, you can see him spreading harmful narratives all over the internet. Everything he posts sends a message and by following, streaming his music, and buying from his brands (or other brands associated with him), we are giving the rapper a platform to spread hate. 

Recently, the rapper has been in the public eye. On Monday, October 3rd, in a “secret” catwalk event at Paris fashion week, Kanye West, and Political Commentator Candace Owens were spotted in “White Lives Matter” T-shirts. Vogue editor and fashion director Gabriella Karefa-Johnson called out West saying that his shirts were an act of “pure violence.” In response, Kanye took to Instagram to slam Karefa-Johnson, (the first black woman to ever style a Vogue cover) for her style. Celebrities such as Gabrielle Union, Hailey Beiber, and Gigi Hadid took to social media to express their support for Karefa-Johnson, Hadid calling West “a bully and a joke.” 

On October 8th, just days after Yom Kippur, Kanye targeted the Jews. In a now-deleted tweet, West threatened to go “death con 3” on the Jewish People. Additionally, he claimed that the press could not call him Anti-Semitic as “black people are actually Jew[s].” Celebrities such as Sarah Silverman, Jamie Lee Curtis, and John Legend spoke out against West’s Anti-Semitism, and brands like Balenciaga, GAP, and JP Morgan Chase cut ties with the rapper. Adidas however, had been silent. On October 16, West appeared on a podcast Drink Champs in which he said “I can literally say anti-Semitic s**t and Adidas cannot drop me” and people began calling on Adidas for a response. Kanye West has an extremely successful line with Adidas called Yeezy. Adidas makes approximately 2 billion dollars annually off of Yeezy, which is almost 10% of the brand’s annual revenue. While Adidas had said that their relationship with Kanye was “under review” they still had not done anything at the time. On October 20, the Anti-Defamation League published an open letter to Adidas calling on them to cut ties with the rapper. The letter brings up points about the rise of anti-Semitism and the harm that West is doing. One example of his harm happened on October 24th in Los Angeles, CA. Demonstrators on the 405 Freeway Overpass were seen doing the Nazi salute and holding banners, one saying “Kanye is right about the Jews.” Hours later, almost all of the Kardashian-Jenner family took to social media to express their support for the Jewish community. That same day, CAA, West’s talent agency, dropped him and MRC released a statement saying they are canceling the release of their completed documentary about him; informing the public that in the documentary, he samples a 3000-year-old song that was used to spread propaganda about the Jews. 

Adidas was the last to sever ties with the rapper, and many believe they only did it due to pressure from the media. Prominent figures such as actress Kat Dennings, comedian, and actor Josh Gad, and former white house official Alexander Vindman all took to Twitter to condemn Adidas for their lack of action. #boycottadidas began trending on Twitter, and their stock plummeted over the past few days. Kanye West was dropped by Adidas on Tuesday, October 25th. Adidas released a statement calling West’s actions “unacceptable, hateful, and dangerous.” People are still unhappy with the brand as they have stood by Kanye after he made various other hateful statements and because it took so much pressure from the media to drop Kanye. The company is losing an estimated 250 million dollars by dropping Yeezy as well as 10% of their annual income. As for Kanye, Forbes recently announced that he has lost his billionaire status due to the loss of Yeezy which accounted for $1.5 billion of his 2 billion dollar net worth. West has lost the support of friends, family, fans, business partners, and even his lawyer making the future of the rapper truly unknown.

Sydney Bienstock is a BBG living in Chapel Hill, NC and can tell you A LOT about mayflies.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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