In the wake of his antisemitic tweets, the 45-year-old rapper Kanye West lost many endorsements and deals that aid in his billionaire status. Companies such as Gap, Balenciaga, Adidas, Foot Locker, Def Jam, CAA and MRC have cut ties with West. Even social media platforms have suspended his accounts.
“Coming from a white person, it says a lot about the media and how they really only started caring when he was making attacks towards Jewish people who you could argue are primarily white,” Katie King, a communications student, said.
West has become known for his out-of-pocket statements and choices. In 2018, the rapper interviewed with TMZ stating that 400 years of slavery “sounds like a choice,” despite the years of history backing the involuntary enslavement of Black people. Despite West’s blatant disrespect for the history of the community he is a part of, the Black community, along with others, continued to support his musical and fashion endeavors.
“Kanye has been disrespecting the Black community for as long as I can remember,” Camisha Saint-Pruex, a Tallahassee resident, said. “I feel like it is unfair to us that he is now just losing deals after his antisemtic comments because it feels as if no one cares about the Black community, we continuously get disrespected and the media and people turn their backs on us.
In early October, during Paris Fashion Week, West posted a photo in a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt alongside Candace Owens, a known Black conservative who is openly against the Black Lives Matter movement and organization. Although this caught the attention of millions of people, it wasn’t until he tweeted harmful tweets towards the Jewish community that he started to lose brand deals.
“I feel like he should’ve been losing his brand deals and been called out much sooner after blatantly disrespecting the Black community,” Hannah Burrell, a journalism student, said. I feel like the Black community or even society didn’t do much because everyone thought ‘Oh he’s just Kanye’ or written it off because of his known mental health issues. At the end of the day I feel like Kanye’s agenda is to gain attention from his fans and the media in order to stay relevant.”
But why did it take the social media post for companies and his audience to condemn his unacceptable behavior? The HBCU community, alongside predominantly white communities, continued to support his endeavors by streaming his music and even buying his shoes “Yeezys” to show them off while on campus the way we do Telfar bags.
“We are letting him damage the Black community without holding him accountable,” Saint-Pruex said. “I will not be supporting Kanye and I haven’t been for a while.”