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Artist v Art – Should People Continue to Listen to Kanye West after Recent Slavery Comments?

Kanye West has always been known for his random impulsive outbursts and his unique opinions throughout the years. His recent comment on slavery came as no surprise to those who know of his attitude to rash and often brash outbursts.

Kanye can often be seen as a person who likes to speak his mind from American politics and economics to the history of the USA. While some may regard his interest in his country as well-meaning, his social grace and the way in which he conducts himself can leave much to be desired.

In a video that emerged from TMZ headquarters, Kanye West can be heard commenting; “When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years?! That sounds like a choice.” He suggested people were mentally trapped in slavery and their mind was the prison. His comment was not taken lightly with multiple people suggesting that his new album should be boycotted.

Not surprisingly, this is not the first time Kanye has spoken impulsively on certain issues. In 2009 he stormed the stage of the MTV VMA awards stating that Taylor Swift should not have won the award for Best Female Video, and said Beyoncé should have won instead. Kanye West has been getting away with speaking his mind for many years now and has faced little repercussion.

At a time where people’s lives can revolve around media, in particular, social media, it is important that people with followings understand this, and take it seriously. When publishing anything online and also when speaking to the media an individual, no matter what their social standing, must understand that everything can have a consequence.

The recent scandal over Kanye West’s comments on slavery is a prime example of this. It also begs the question – Is it right that someone with such a high social standing can promote such extreme ideas? Is it right that people still listen to Kanye West after his comments?

There have been multiple examples of celebrities being fired, or having shows cancelled due to discriminative comments or inappropriate actions. For example, Roseanne Barr’s popular sitcom ‘Roseanne’ was recently cancelled after she sent out a tweet that was seen to be racist. However, despite the backlash Kanye’s comments received from the media and the general public, last week the rap singers latest album ‘Ye’ earned him his eighth number one album on the Billboard 200.

Even Kanye himself has admitted that if an ordinary person had entered TMZ and spoke the way he did that they would have been fired. This personal acknowledgment just shows that he knows what he did would not normally be accepted. This shows us that there is a grey line in which celebrities can get away with unacceptable actions due to their status.

The real issue here doesn’t stem from what Kanye has said but it stems from the people. The public made it clear that they were unhappy with how he spoke, but this feeling was short-lived and almost completely forgotten about when his new music released. Social media gives the public an opportunity to voice their opinion but in reality, nothing seems to come of this.

Celebrities such as Kanye West will continue to get away with their actions because no action is brought against them. Personally, I don’t think people should continue to listen to a musician who has spoken out wrongly on so many topics, but while Kanye’s public image may be slightly damaged, it is likely people will continue to listen to his music and he will face no long-term consequences for his actions. Is he the role model anyone should aspire to be?