Just listen to Kanye


Kanye West’s new album “Yandhi” should’ve dropped last night, and if it did, you will probably see me at school today talking about how good it is, because it will be amazing.
The problem is, a lot of hip-hop fans, despite thinking that the album could also be amazing, might not even listen to it, or they might listen to it differently because of the controversial things he has said and done.

Many people don’t just look at Kanye as a musician; they see him as a cultural icon. He has never been afraid to speak his mind, which, despite getting him in trouble, has also caused him to become one of the most iconic and influential figures of our generation.
People still listened to his music after he interrupted Taylor Swift at the VMAs or said that George Bush doesn’t care about black people, both on live television—but that all seemed to change this year. His newest albums titled “Ye” and “KIDS SEE GHOSTS” were praised for their sound and exploration of mental health issues, but every critique I read mentioned that their listening experiences were tainted by his slavery comments or support of Trump.
It’s not that I didn’t find these incidents troubling, it’s that I was still able to appreciate his music—but being able to separate the art from the artist isn’t really the point.

In the age of “#MeToo,” we have been forced to reconsider whether or not we can still watch the movies or TV shows starring the now questionable people that we used to adore, and those decisions have at times been hard to make. If celebrities like Kevin Spacey or Bill Cosby have done so much wrong that you can’t watch anything that they’ve ever been in then that’s okay.

With Kanye though, we can’t continue to pick and choose what we hear from him. When he says “don’t trade your authenticity for approval,” we retweet him. When he says Trump is his “brother,” many stop listening. In the past year, Kanye West has somehow become a perfect microcosm of today’s society: we only truly listen to what we want to hear.

Look, we all should still get to feel a certain type of way about how celebrities like Kanye, or even our classmates and friends, exercise their free speech, but to tune someone out right when you start disagreeing with them is a symptom of a greater problem in our country.

With so much information and entertainment on the internet, we give ourselves the opportunity to only give attention to things we prefer. Thus, it is now more important than ever to listen to others because we are losing the opportunity to expose ourselves to new ideas all on our own.

So today, if you listen to Kanye’s album, just listen to it. If he has a dope one-liner, quote it. If you legitimately hate his music, then I hereby grant you permission to stop listening.

But if you want to stop listening because he says something you don’t agree with, I challenge you to just hear him out, because you can’t thoughtfully disagree with someone if you start ignoring them everytime they say something you don’t like.

I’m not saying that Kanye was right when he said that “slavery was a choice”, but if we love to hear him at his best then he deserves to be heard at his worst too. If we want to disagree with each other, and if we want to realistically come to a conclusion, we first have to take a step back and listen.