If the lead actor in 1954 classic Cattle Queen of Montana can go on to become commander-in-chief, and The Terminator can be elected to run the eighth largest economy in the world, is it really that hard to imagine successful producer, musician and entrepreneur Kanye West living it up in the Oval Office?
West’s announcement that he would be running for American presidency in 2020 has been met with such immediate ridicule you might be confused into thinking that presidential elections are something Americans take seriously. In reality, United States citizens have a propensity for electing slightly mad individuals, including one with a fetish for having Vaseline rubbed on to his head during breakfast and another who frequently exposed himself in high-level meetings.
The good news is there are plenty of reasons to get behind a West 2020 campaign.
While his biggest singles are his more mainstream pop and dance hits like Gold Digger and Stronger, he has a long and continued history as an artist unafraid to tackle social issues. He doesn’t constrain his political perspectives to his music either, famously stating on national television in 2005 that then US president George W Bush “doesn’t care about black people”. (Bush later highlighted that moment as “the worst in his presidency”.)
By delving into some of West’s more potent, politically charged lyrics, one may be able to understand what is driving his foray into politics and what his agenda might become.
He understands what is wrong with contemporary America
The system broken, the school’s closed, the prison’s open – Power (2010)
You know the kids gonna act a fool / when you stop the programs for after-school – We Don’t Care (2004)
The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 2.2 million inmates. In comparison China, with a population roughly three times as large, has 1.5 million incarcerated people. West is making the simple point that spending up to five times more on locking people up compared with educating kids is a pretty silly way to run a country. A president who wants to spend more money on education than on locking millions of people in jail? The guy is too damn sensible.
He’s sick of gun violence
I feel the pain in my city wherever I go / 314 soldiers died in Iraq, 509 died in Chicago – Murder to Excellence (2011)
It’s time for us to stop and redefine black power / 41 souls murdered in 50 hours – Murder to Excellence (2011)
The US leads the world in mass shootings. While it has just 5% of the world’s population, it’s the location of 31% of mass shootings. Political paralysis and fighting between state and federal governments has made gun reform almost impossible, but the interesting thing about West’s attitude to violent crime is how frequently he looks deeper into the root causes. To West, addressing gun violence isn’t just about limiting access to weapons, it’s about fighting poverty and tackling a culture that glorifies violence. That’s the kind of policy rigour missing from DC.
Been a don, praying for the families lost in the storm / Bring our troops back from Iraq, keep our troops out of Iran – Power (Remix) (2010)
Not only does opposing the Iraq war put West to the left of Hillary Clinton, he’s staunchly against military adventurism in Iran. While the threat of war with Iran has receded significantly since president Obama’s landmark nuclear deal, for a period it looked almost inevitable. Props to him for taking such a firm, coherent position opposing invasion.
He’s pro-drug law reform (probably)
And if you’re losin’ your high then smoke again – Get ‘Em High (2004)
With more and more public figures declaring the war on drugs an abject failure, who better to lead the drug law reform campaign from the White House than a president who admitted to being stoned when he announced his candidature?
Now we have a decent idea of the policy agenda a West presidency could entail. But if the thought of an anti-war, drug- and gun law-reforming president who prioritises spending on education isn’t enough to get you on board team West, consider the potential context in 2020:
Donald Trump has been president for four years and declared war on pretty much everyone who isn’t white, rich and a man. He’s expanded military intervention in the Middle East and tripled the prison population by locking up undocumented migrants. Meanwhile education and health funding has been slashed in order to build a giant wall separating the US from Mexico.
Luckily, there’s one man with the ideas and vision necessary to take on president Trump. Kanye West isn’t just the president we deserve, he’s the president we need.
source: The Guardian
After the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, viewers were left wondering about the status (and the veracity) of the feuds among today’s female pop stars as they traded obscenity-laced barbs, glares and hugs on the stage.
But few of those clashes are likely to blossom into a viral V.M.A. touchstone like the rapper Kanye West’s onstage interruption of the pop star Taylor Swift in 2009.
That year, Mr. West took to the stage to grab the microphone from Ms. Swift and proclaim Beyoncé as the true winner of the award for Best Female Video. And every year since, viewers have tuned in, eager for some sort of acknowledgment, apology — or, perhaps, a repeat performance.
On Sunday night, Mr. West delivered. First, he used the episode to set up an apparent treatise on the importance of artistic freedom of speech. He hovered on the edge of an apology to Ms. Swift, contemplating how being a little older and wiser had changed him.
Then he changed course.
“Sometimes I feel like I died for the artist’s opinion,” Mr. West continued, delivering a long, rambling acceptance speech for the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. “For the artists to be able to have an opinion after they were successful. I’m not no politician, bro.”
Not yet, at least.
Minutes after someone in the audience screamed “Kanye for president!” and the rapper alluded to prespeech drug use, he said to his fans, “And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”
Could this future America be envisioned? Kim Kardashian-West in sensible pantsuits, and Yeezus in the White House? Fans and journalists wasted no time debating the odds.
In a world where even the feuds seem manufactured, perhaps next year’s show will demand something even grander from the reliably unscripted Mr. West: We’re heading into an election year, after all.
source: The New York TImes
Kanye West can perhaps best be compared to a tornado. He touches down out of the blue with great – sometimes frightening – force, and demands everyone bend to his will.
In this scenario, the modern-day fashion industry is a family of cowering farmers hiding in their basement storm shelter. They would love to re-emerge and get back to daily life, but tornado Kanye just won’t leave them alone. He insists on breaking through their carefully erected barriers.
Celebrity fashion designers are nothing new. From Jessica Simpson to Paris Hilton and Madonna, it’s almost a rite of passage for successful A-listers to slap their names on a clothing line. While some of these lines achieve commercial success, they’re often relegated to department store racks and looked down upon by the the elitist fashion industry.
Before West, the fashion industry and and hip-hop world were happy to be separate from each other. High-end labels used to cringe at “urban” customers wearing their brands, convinced that they cheapened their image. Meanwhile, no self-respecting rapper bought Alexander Wang or Bottega Veneta.
But thanks to a combination of West’s evangelism and luxury brands losing market share to the likes of Zara and H&M, high-end labels suddenly deemed the previously untapped (and often discriminated against) hip-hop crowd a new and open market.
Slowly, but surely, ads and runways become more diverse and brands actively courted influencers like Pharrell, A$AP Rocky, Drake and Wiz Khalifa. Baggy pants and hoodies were replaced with slim Balmain trousers and flowing Calvin Klein Collection camel trenches. West brought together two previously unacquainted worlds: the extremely white world of high fashion and street style’s diverse devotees.
How did he do it?
West purposely and strategically avoided the typical celeb roadmap to fashion fame. Rather than simply license his name away, he paid his dues by moving to Rome to intern at Fendi for four months and attempted to study at famed fashion school Central Saint Martins (he claims he was turned down for being “too famous”). He also studied shoemaking with Giuseppe Zanotti and released several collaborations with the king of flashy footwear. He then aligned himself with Louis Vuitton for a successful sneaker collaboration.
But it wasn’t all so easy. West staged his first catwalk show during Paris Fashion Week in 2011. His funky-fitting body-con dresses and fur overload were quickly panned by critics and laughed at by fashion fans. In 2012, he attempted another show in Paris that didn’t perform much better. In response, West announced he’d no longer show in Paris and called out the fashion industry for being classist and racist.
His first real success didn’t come until 2013 when French ready-to-wear brand A.P.C. extended an olive branch to Kanye, co-creating a capsule collection that sold out instantly and crashed A.P.C.’s website. Armed with new confidence and a pared-down aesthetic, West debuted his Yeezy Season 1 collaboration with Adidas in 2015 at New York Fashion Week. The event also livestreamed at 42 movie theatres around the globe and Kylie Jenner walked the runway. It was the most buzzed-about show of the season and Anna Wintour graced the front row.
However, putting his nose to the grindstone didn’t mean Kanye wasn’t busy being Kanye. He wasn’t just striving to be another celebrity designer; he wanted to be viewed as an artiste. In fact, he’s said multiple times that he considers himself a designer before a rapper. And so, in between moments of supposed humility, the mad genius claimed to have conceived the entire idea of leather joggers, and said he was “going to be the Tupac of clothing.”
While many onlookers found West egotistical bordering on obnoxious, his outspoken love for high-fashion houses like Louis Vuitton continued changing how hip-hop followers dressed. He unashamedly vocalized his desire to be one of the greats – to have his name spoken in the same breath as McQueen, Dior and Chanel – and made those very same brands popular with his own fans through his outspokenness.
For better or worse, West changed and continues to alter high fashion’s classist attitude. He led the charge for the Hadids, Jenners and Kardashians of the world to be taken seriously as fashion insiders that dominate fashion week runways, Vogue covers and advertisements for luxury retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.
And his clothes have received better reviews over the last few seasons. The real breadwinners of his Adidas collections are the limited-edition Yeezy shoes that make sneakerheads and fashionistas alike go wild. Last summer, the Yeezy Boost 350s famously sold out in 12 minutes and ended up on eBay for as much as $10,000. The highly anticipated Yeezy Boost 750s from Season 2 go on sale this weekend on West’s new fashion site yeezy.supply.
Kanye West announced he will run for president in 2020 at the VMAs on Sunday night. What do some of his famous peers think of that? On the blue carpet and in the plush Emirates suite at the U.S. Open opening gala the following day, eight celebs spoke to Cosmopolitan.com about their future nominee and possible first lady.
1. AMANDA SEYFRIED
Kanye West said he was going to run for president in 2020.
Do you think he would make a good president?
No comment. Wink, wink. Listen, he’s a really amazing artist. [Pauses.] Dot, dot, dot. Question mark, question mark.
2. ALEC BALDWIN
What do you think about Kanye West running for president in 2020?
I think it’s fantastic.
I think anybody participating in politics, running — it’s too elitist now, too many elites. Even though Kanye himself is an elite, he’s a different kind of elite.
What do you think it says about us that Donald Trump is ahead in his party’s polls?
That’s an easy thing to say, it’s so early. Four or five of these women and men will drop out, who knows what’s going to happen with the bulk of these nominees, and when those people leave, is their support going to go to Trump? I think it’s unlikely. Trump is a spleen right now for people. He’s letting them say, I think, what they want to say. But I don’t think that the rest of the Republican party faithful, who are devoted to other people — [Carly] Fiorina and these other people who are running, [Marco] Rubio. Whoever drops out, the next four or five people that drop out, let’s see where their support goes. And I think it’s unlikely it’ll go to Trump. I think what Trump has now is pretty much what he can count on. I think he’s only going to go down, and someone else is going to go up. And something tells me that in direct relationship to Trump’s comments about Hispanic Americans and immigrants, that Rubio might be the beneficiary of that. The Republican party cannot ignore the immigrant population, and Rubio might help.
3. VANESSA WILLIAMS
Last night, Kanye West said he is going to run for president in 2020.
Reaction to that?
Uh, well, we’ll see. I mean, I guess he’ll actually do it. He’s pretty much a man of his word, so I’ll be curious to see what his platform is. And who he’s running against. It’s fascinating, and everyone has the right to do whatever they want to do.
What do you think Kim Kardashian would be like as first lady?
She’s very gracious, because I’ve met her before — I worked with her on a Tyler Perry movie maybe four or five years ago, and she was very gracious. But, you know, being the first lady of the United States is a pretty big job, so she’d have to study some books, and learn a lot about … uh, things. [Laughs.]
4. LENA HALL
Kanye West announced last night that he’s going to run for president in 2020. Thoughts on that?
I don’t know. Let’s just have all celebrities run for president and see how they do. [Laughs.] I’ll run for president. And I’d run it about as well as Kanye West could run it. Which is not saying much.
What kind of first lady do you think Kim Kardashian would make? What charitable cause should she take up?
I don’t know what charity, but she’s damn stylish. I think she’d be damn stylish.
5. JOSH GROBAN
What do you think about Kim Kardashian as first lady?
Oh, yes, her fashion would be extraordinary. She’d kill it.
6. ANNA CHLUMSKY
Thoughts on Kanye running for president in 2020?
You know, he’s got some time, I guess. Crazier things have happened. We’ve had entertainers in the White House before.
What about Kim Kardashian as first lady? What should she do as a charity?
I have no idea. Why would I know? I really don’t pay attention to the Kardashians, I’m sorry. [Laughs hard.]
Last night Kanye West said he’s going to run for president in 2020.
I just heard that! I thought it was hilarious! I love Kanye. You know, you’ve got to ease up on him. He makes insane, complicated, amazing good music, and when he acts insane and complicated, we get mad at him. We can’t have it both ways.
Kanye said he’s going to run for president in 2020.
Why not? Trump is making a shot at it.
So in a contest between Trump and Kanye, you would support Kanye?
I would definitely vote for Kanye.
What about Kim Kardashian as first lady? Do you think she’d take up a charitable cause?
Of course she would. It’s so crazy, because I think that people see a lot of things that Kim does in front of the camera, like all her selfies and things like that, but I hear she does a lot of charity work. So, you know, she doesn’t have to talk about it all the time. I think she’s a great girl.
Kanye West wasn’t joking about running for president in 2020. During a lengthy discussion with In Camera, the Chicago rapper-turned-fashionista revealed that his announcement at the VMAs was not a spur of the moment decision, but rather something he’s been thinking about for five years. “Yea”, Kanye responded with a straight face when asked if he is “definitely” running.
In fact, Kanye answered several questions in the way you might expect from a seasoned politician. Asked how he would assess Barack Obama’s presidency, he said, “I don’t want to make comments, or give opinions on what other people have done. However, he added, “I think he’s done a lot of great things and there would be no chance of people even considering the concept of me running if he hadn’t of won.”
Asked if he would run with a specific party, he responded, “I don’t have the answers right now.”
Kanye does, however, know what he would do as the Leader of the Free World. He explained, “I would like to sit with engineers and come up with solutions and alternatives for people without opportunity that end up having to go through desperate measures, who feel like life isn’t worth living, or that other people’s lives don’t matter.”
“I think the way I collaborate with people, the way that I empower the people I collaborate with … is a different way to problem solve than a normal political way. I want to just, ask questions.”
And if you still don’t think he’s serious, consider the fact he’s already prepping for debates. “I’ve already decided that when I’m at debates and I don’t know, I’ll say, ‘Look I don’t know, I’ll get back to you,” and consult with the top 10, top five people in the planet, and if there isn’t an absolute right answer, then I’ll say these are the two highest answers we’ve come up with right now. Because it’s not about me, it’s about we right now.
Later in the interview, Kanye stressed the importance of education, saying he believes he’d be more successful if he hadn’t dropped out of college. “I’m envious of information.”
In non-political news, Kanye assessed his three most recent studio albums, proclaiming Yeezus and 808s & Heartbreak to be far superior to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. He called Dark Fantasy an “apology record,” adding that “‘Power’ was the least progressive song I ever had as a first single,” as he pieced together “what people liked about me to create a bouquet, it’s like Thanksgiving dinner.”
In regards to new music, Kanye said he’s unsure whether SWISH will be the title of his next album, deeming it a placeholder for now. He admitted he’s struggled to find a purpose for the album, but is still moving ahead with the project and currently looking for album artwork. Going forward, however, Kanye may follow the lead of André 3000 and do only guest verses.
source:Consequence of Sound
But is he serious about politics? And would he ever be taken seriously?
No doubt, Donald Trump, billionaire real estate tycoon who has never run for office before and also is a veteran of reality TV with a substantial Twitter following, would likely have approved of the way West made his presidential announcement.
He’s also tapped into people’s anger at politics and politicians and billed himself as the outsider who can fix things.
On first blush, West’s political aspirations would seem far fetched and more about publicity. But after seeing Trump gain success with similar grandstanding, maybe it isn’t so wild of a possibility.
West is outspoken, as Trump is, saying what’s on his mind with seemingly no filter.
He embarrassed singer Taylor Swift on national television a few years ago when she was getting an award. He came on stage during her big moment saying Swift didn’t deserve it, but Beyonce did.
He chastised then-President George W. Bush during a telethon for Hurricane Katrina survivors by announcing Bush didn’t like black people.
Last month, he asked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for help paying West’s $53 million debt by investing $1 billion in “Kanye West’s Ideas.”
“I’m this generation’s Walt Disney,” West tweeted.
Being bold and brash are traits resonating with America’s electorate.
Republican presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., businessman Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, participate in a debate sponsored by Fox News at the Fox Theatre on March 3, 2016 in Detroit. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)
Trump — the king of bold and brash — remains the GOP front-runner after important primary wins Tuesday in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina.
His success makes one wonder whether others from the entertainment field — like West — who know how to use the media might consider joining the presidential fray down the road?
Who would have guessed a year ago that Trump would be lighting the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.? There’s still a way to go until the GOP national convention in Cleveland in July, which promises to be a barn burner as some party faithful hope to block Trump there he continues along his current trajectory.
Regardless of the outcome, politicos are speaking out about Trump’s imprint on presidential politics.
“Trump will have a lasting impact on the process,” said Saul Anuzis, former Michigan GOP Chair and one-time candidate for the RNC chair job. Anuzis is working to elect Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
“Trump has shown other celebrities the political power they could have. I’d be surprised if other don’t try to emulate his success,” Anuzis added.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell. D-Mich., said she isn’t sure how Trump would impact future presidential races or candidates, but she was sure of this: “He’s the schoolyard bully.”
Those in academia also are processing Trump’s imprint.
“I am not yet convinced the Trump phenomenon will translate in the future to the pool of presidential candidates,” said Michael Traugott, senior research scientist from the U-M Center for Political Studies
Matt Grossmann, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, said: “Learning from Trump, future candidates may spend more time on generating media coverage through publicity stunts, social media taunts, and constant interviews.”
“What’s different is he’s put so much more personality into his campaign than discussion about public policy,” said Marina Whitman, professor of public policy in the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy and also business administration in U-M’s Ross School of Business.
“It’s pulled things down to a new low in terms of behavior and vulgarity. He seems to thrive on it,” she added.
Indeed, that’s something Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, Carly Fiorina and others are likely pondering and wondering: “How is Trump still standing?”
source: Detroit Free Press.
President Obama is handing out some free political advice — and wisecracks — for music mogul and potential White House candidate Kanye West.
“First of all, you’ve got to spend a lot of time dealing with some strange characters who behave like they’re on a reality TV show,” Obama told donors Saturday in San Francisco, an apparent reference to West’s wife, Kim Kardashian.
Speaking at event that also included West, Obama made reference to one of the rapper’s best known albums: “Saying that you have a ‘Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ — that’s what’s known as ‘off-message’ in politics … You can’t say something like that … There are a lot of people who have lost their congressional seats saying things like that.”
The current president also had a third piece of advice for West, who said on a recent awards show that he is running in 2020: “Do you really think that this country is going to elect a black guy from the South Side of Chicago with a funny name to be President of the United States? … That is crazy. That’s cray!”
All in good fun, presumably — and nicer than what Obama has said about West in the past, as ABC News explains:
After all, the president has called West a “jack—” twice: first in 2009 after West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the VMAs, then again in a 2012 interview with The Atlantic.
“He is a jack—,” Obama told the Atlantic in 2012. “But he’s talented.”
source: USA Today
Kanye West has said that he really wants to run for president in 2020 and his wife, Kim Kardashian, confirmed he is serious about the idea. Over the weekend, Ye took his political aspirations to the DNC fundraiser in San Francisco where he performed for the audience and received some crucial advice from President Obama. Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is the latest celeb to join the Yeezy 2020 conversation.
Clinton sat down with Buzzfeed’s Another Round, and said she’s got her eye on 2020, too. “I’ve told Kanye that I think he might want to wait cause I’ll be running for reelection,” Clinton explained. However, Clinton isn’t ruling anyone out for her vice president role—including Kanye. “I might want to give him some additional experience so he’s got, on all the other things he’s done on his resume, he’s got some kind of envoy role or something he could point to… I would not rule out anybody for vice president”.
source: Complex News
I think that’s a responsibility that I have, to push possibilities, to show people, this is the level that things could be at. So when you get something that has the name Kanye West on it, it’s supposed to be pushing the furthest possibilities. I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus.