Two weeks ago, I wrote about Diamond and Silk, the black political commentary duo who have been deemed dangerous for the most peculiar of reasons — they are black AND conservative!
But now it’s starting to look like a trend, and the political establishment is growing restless. Indeed, the latest outburst of “free thought” among black Americans has the potential to change the political dynamic for years to come, thanks to the pivotal role of mega-star Kanye West.
I’ll admit it. I have no idea what West’s music sounds like. If it’s rap music, as I am led to believe, I probably don’t like it, but that doesn’t mean I won’t dance to it if the rhythm is right.
That’s what makes the world go round. Open your mind up and be exposed to new ideas, new sounds, new people — then measure them against the tried and true. Keep what you need and discard the rest.
This goes for politics as well as music, of course, and Kanye seems to be interested in leading a revolution that will free people to think for themselves rather than following the party line.
Last week, this black musician risked the loss of millions of fans, not to mention millions of dollars, as he donned a MAGA hat signed by Donald Trump and wrote: “You don’t have to agree with trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.”
He also wrote, “If your friend jumps off the bridge you don’t have to do the same,” “I love when people have their own ideas” and “I’m not scared anymore. I’m not scared of the media.”
In case you didn’t know where he was going, he added this: “no race religion region or political party can argue with the power of love.”
Chance the Rapper followed up with a tweet of his own —“Black people don’t have to be Democrats” — which Kanye West retweeted with his own message, “Whoa here we go,” suggesting that West is indeed trying to shift the political discussion from “black and white” to “what’s right.”
Since he has a megaphone the size of Texas (Actually a bit bigger! He has 28 million Twitter followers, and Texas only has 26.5 million residents!) he may actually be in position to do it. It’s the old story about Nixon going to China. There was no way a Democrat could have restored relations with communist China without being accused of being soft on communism, but Republican Nixon didn’t need to worry about that. He had street cred as a longtime opponent of communism, and thus could lead America back to a realistic approach to the “Sleeping Giant” of China without losing the trust of his conservative base.
By the same token, Kanye West has built up a reputation as a black artist for the past 15 years that is almost without parallel. In fact, he isn’t a black artist any longer; he is a transcendent artist who has crossed every color barrier there is. The chance of him being called a racist is slim to none, and so his rejection of identity politics is an opportunity for him to advance the nation toward the elusive post-racial era that some mistakenly thought had arrived with the election of Barack Obama.
Of course, West still risks being called an Uncle Tom because he isn’t toeing the liberal line, but I have a feeling he can handle that.
He proved that earlier last week when he threw his support to Candace Owens, the black woman who shut down a Black Lives Matter protest during an appearance at Berkeley and who says, the “color of a person’s skin should not determine what issues they are allowed to care about.”
West tweeted out, “I love the way Candace Owens thinks.” He took plenty of heat from the liberal left for that, only made worse when he expressed a kinship with Donald Trump as well.
Owens said it best when she retweeted an article about the late-night vultures, er, hosts, blasting West for his foolishness in supporting President Trump, and wrote:
“The plantation supervisors are out in full force. They want their slaves back.”
Let’s hope they don’t get them. Black Americans deserve an opportunity to be taken seriously as a voting bloc, but that won’t happen until they declare their independence from the Democratic Party and make new alliances based on results, not promises.
Frank Miele is managing editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Montana. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.