Opinion: Dear Kanye West and other like minded Black Americans

Kanye West

Kanye West

Lenin Ndebele
Like many of my peers from a distance I admire the “American way of life”- embodied in the American Dream which is arguably the best bill of rights in the world on paper. It endorses democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity and equality.

It is from such a footing that there are leading people of colour like you who can scream, “Mama I made it!”

You and other multi-millionaire black faces have become America’s testimony to kids out there that hard work and talent have huge rewards.

Until last week, you Mr West, in my view, were the smartest artiste alive. I am not sure about that now.

Your music is pure genius.  At some point I could ponder whether to pay attention to President Obama’s diplomatic speeches or your social commentary.

I would choose the latter and most notably I followed your argument on why “George Bush did not care about black people”.

But you Mr West, last week reminded me that you also have a deep-seated paranoia and bird’s eye view of Africans. I don’t necessarily blame you. I blame the system.

Your most talked about tweet calling out for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to fund your art touched a raw nerve.

“You’d rather open up one school in Africa like you really helped the country…” you tweeted.

Did you have to name drop Africa? You clearly made it known in your view that Africa is an unpleasant distant relative. Never mind the millions that pay their hard earned money to watch you on stage when you tour Africa.

Not to mention the many sneaker heads that even cut on many of life’s basics just to save up and buy the latest Yeezy sneaker. It may not come as a surprise to me if there are more people in Africa with Yeezy sneakers than in the United States. We deserve a little bit more respect.

Your tweet is a frank reminder that there are black people in the United States who only think of Africa when it suits their pockets.

Black popular culture is one of United State’s most exported products to the world.

Rappers like you are quick to claim Africa as “the motherland”. What have you done in terms of charity for Africa other than discouraging Mark Zuckerberg and others like Bill Gates from making Africa a better place?

There is no question about you Mr West being one of the most enlightened musicians out there but your tweets make us in Africa wonder-

“If he thinks like this, what about the most shallow minded?”

Another thing, in your record stable, you have worked with artistes such as Nigerian musicians D’Banj and Don Jazzy what are you saying about their roots?

Understandably, there are some who I am beginning to feel you are part of, whose only identity with Africa is slavery. When they think of those that remained in Africa they see traitors, largely because some African leaders sold fellow countrymen into slavery.

Hence a debate in some societies that African traditional leaders should apologise for their part in the slave trade that took your ancestors to America.

But remember that not everyone in Africa is traditional royalty.

You could have asked for money without mentioning Zuckerberg’s “useless” charity work in Africa.

As the tweets continued you Mr West revealed your frustrations of being a victim of the American Dream.

You have a personal debt of $53 million. If that claim is true it goes against your advice in the song, “All Falls Down,” where you preach non materialism in the face of racist America because no matter how rich one gets:

“ Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigger”.

Mr West you are a relatively rich man. Your Net worth is estimated to be $145 million. But your money is cheap change to the likes of Zuckerberg who is estimated to be worth $48 billion.

While he makes much more money than you, you spend more than him and your personal debt is an indicator.

However, of interest is that while you publicly asked for his money, it dawned on me that the money game in the US is seemingly stacked against blacks and other people of colour.

That could be the answer to why an averagely talented Justin Bieber makes more money than you!

Statistics show that in the United States family wealth of blacks and other people of colour is around 10 percent that of whites. People in your racial bracket Mr West are more likely to be unemployed and fail to own a home, yet they are the firmest believers in the American Dream.

In your debut offering, “Through the wire” you make mention of how Michael Jackson got burnt during a Pepsi commercial.

There he was, a black man in pursuit of the American Dream but in reality, the real owners of the American Dream were the owners of Pespi who made lots of money penetrating the black target market thanks to MJ’s endorsement.

Sadly for him the burns were part of the reason he underwent plastic surgery. You are on the same boat, you are looking for the real owners of the economy to give you attention.

It is obvious that the struggle of the black man in America and the one in Africa are two different things. A shared complexion does not amount to a shared culture. So Mr West learn to chill and stay in your position.

Probably one reader is asking if it’s worth it to write an open letter to you. I hope just like you called on Zuckerberg via twitter, your handle @kanyewest you will pick this up.

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  • https://onlyjustwords.wordpress.com Christina Halasz-Lane

    I long for the good old days when gay prostitutes didn’t try to sell themselves as artists.