Kanye West is back in the headlines. While visiting TMZ yesterday, he stated slavery was “a choice”. Now we must admit Kanye is known for being unfiltered and controversial, but this latest incident went a step too far. His bizarre antics and statements yesterday have people questioning if this is a part of an elaborate marketing scheme for his upcoming album or a cry for help.
Slavery Was “A Choice”?
When Kanye came out wearing a Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat, people were critical of him but we didn’t bat an eyelash at Virgo Philosophy. There is nothing wrong with him supporting the President. But when he made his uninformed statements about slavery at TMZ, we knew something was amiss with Kanye. He was not exploring free thought like he professed, but was spewing ignorance. Dare we say he was displaying characteristics of someone trapped in the sunken place¹. And with his level of celebrity that is not acceptable. Some may argue even dangerous. In 2018, the world must understand that an opinion must never be misconstrued as a fact.
Writer and philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”. Kanye West, the self-proclaimed college drop-out, needs to educate himself on American history. Kanye claimed slavery (in the United States) lasted for 400 years. The country is not even that old. The earliest date of recorded slavery is 1619. It was formally ended in 1865. That is 246 years.
When he questioned the TMZ staff on “if they felt something” based on what he said, some people silently raised their hands in agreement, some nodded, and one woman (who did not sound African American) said yes. To us, it seemed like no one was willing to challenge him. And then…Van Lathan, a TMZ employee, stood up.
With passion and eloquence Lathan told Kanye,
You’re entitled to believe whatever you want, but there is fact, and real-world, real-life consequence behind everything that you just said. And while you are making music and being an atist and living the life that you’ve earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives. We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said, for our people, was a choice…Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled and, brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something, to me, that’s not real.
Van Lathan, who is a young African American man, has been applauded for rebutting Kanye and it is well deserved. His bravery was refreshing in a world where people want to distort facts with constant cries of “fake news”. Lathan spoke the truth. In other words, live on TMZ he told the world 2 + 2 still equals 4 ≠ 5. And that is to be commended.
Out of Touch?
The word “choice” and “slavery” should never be in the same sentence. A person does not have a choice if they are a slave. Slavery is not immigration (ahem…Dr. Ben Carson and McGraw-Hill Education). It was a harsh generational system of torture and dehumanization of millions based on the color of their skin for economic gain. And the consequences of slavery still lingers today.
Kanye has worked his way to be a multi-millionaire. He should be proud of his achievement. Even more so if he is a descendant of slavery (most likely!). But has his affluence caused him to become out of touch? We agree with his belief on free thought. The world would be better if people were honest and open. However, that does not negate the fact that slavery was not a choice. Kanye needs to be careful with his words due to the influence he wields. In the end, none of us are worthy to judge the past through the lens of the present. That was a different time and deserves to be respected as such.
¹defined as a perpetual place of slumber, regarding systematic and idiosyncratic injustice and oppression in regards to race, i.e. the antithesis of being woke. Especially when a person of color can’t or refuses to see it. Source: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sunken%20place
Video credit: TMZ | Youtube