An Open Letter to Kanye West


You've influenced my life more than you know (obviously, because we don't know each other). Hip hop has always been a big part of my life, but when I was in graduate school, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy awakened my love for the music industry and ultimately led me to the career path I'm now on. Your over-the-top confidence, complete disregard for what other people think of you, and fearlessness in the face of the word "No" continue to inspire me. Your music, your clothes, and the artistic visuals surrounding everything that is Kanye embody these ideals: all of it stands in bold contrast to everything else in fashion and music. People call you crazy for ripping holes in sweaters and selling them for thousands of dollars and for wanting to be the creative director of Hermes. But in Kanye's world, nothing is impossible.

I really do love so many parts of you. But this past week has been a real struggle for a Kanye fan. In your song Famous, you called Taylor Swift a bitch and said you "might still have sex" with her. Then you called her a liar when she said that she knew little about the song before it was released. And, on a different and soul-crushing level, you tweeted that Bill Cosby is innocent. Not only was that statement not followed or preceded by any kind of context (we all hoped it was an "Oops North is tweeting again" accident), but it was blatantly wrong and callous, both to Bill Cosby's alleged victims and to so many victims of sexual abuse. You continue to live in a world where it's okay to hurt innocent people in the name of art.

Please stop. Shut up. Stop tweeting. Stop talking. And stop acting like "name one genius that ain't crazy" is a reason to act like an ignorant asshole. You think of yourself as a "soldier of culture," and yet your entire message is engulfed by your public persona. Today, the day after the album premier and the Yeezy Season 3 fashion show, nobody is talking about whether or not your new album is great or how different and interesting your show was. They're talking about your feud with Taylor Swift. The public doesn't care about your art when it's overshadowed by your behavior.

Delete your Twitter. Maybe try sitting on your thoughts and feelings for a few minutes before you fling them out into the world. Because your words matter. They're heard by millions of people and, as you clearly know, they influence how those people think. Educate yourself on the different realities that these people experience. Do something. I can't keep pretending like you just don't know any better. It's your job to know better. Figure it out because, for those of us who are still around to care and desperately cling to the good parts of Kanye, you're not a soldier for us anymore. You're a soldier for yourself.