Many were shocked to see Kanye West and President Donald J. Trump together in the Oval Office discussing policy. For me, this meeting was an eye opener, because it stood apart from the usual presidential meetings. West, a rapper and fashion designer, would not quit ranting. But what did he say?
First, he mentioned what he feels is society’s current problem with symbolism. He is frustrated with the fact that there has been backlash because he, a black man, has been sporting “a Make America Great Again” hat. He disagrees that if you are a member of a demographic group, you must conform to those ideas typical among that demographic. Among other statements, he said that wearing the hat made him feel like “Superman.”
He also briefly mentioned abolishing the Thirteenth Amendment which states that: “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime…” His statement focuses on the fact that prisoners are, in essence, slaves. In many cases, profits are made off of prisons. America, which calls itself the land of the free, has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and West wants us to notice this.
When I reflect on the meeting, I notice many issues. West completely overshadowed former football player Jim Brown’s attendance and rambled for 10 minutes straight. We need to take his mental health into account. West has suffered with bipolar disorder for all of his life. Recently, he said he stopped taking his medication. What Trump saw that day was a man who has suffered immensely from his own psychological issues, but, instead of wishing him more clarity, he stated that “he can speak for me anytime he wants.”
We face an issue here on many dimensions: political pandering, mental illness, misrepresentation of amendments and hypocrisy. However, when we boil this story down, it’s the story of a modern day contrarian praising the current leader. What a world we live in.