Ye is running out of platforms


Special for Infobae of The New York Times.

(Critic’s Notebook)

We may not yet have reached the nadir of the current debacle for Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West. However, his Monday night interview with Chris Cuomo certainly felt like he’s finally hitting rock bottom.

In the back of a van en route to a meeting with the CEO of the conservative social network Parler, Ye argued with Cuomo for 20 minutes, largely repeating the provocations he has been harping on for the past two weeks. : his anger with Jewish executives; his desire to think freely and independently of the expected black celebrity narrative, and his belief that all blacks are Jewish, for which he cannot be considered an anti-Semite.

During one of the few tense exchanges in which Cuomo pushed back against bigoted remarks, Ye responded indignantly, “Are you going to give me a platform? Are you going to give me a platform?”

Throughout his career, Ye has gobbled up platforms: sometimes others’, sometimes ones he’s built himself. The very act of consuming public oxygen has been a centerpiece of his art for two decades. And while Ye has, time and again, expressed uninformed, ill-formulated, and deeply troubling views in recent years, he has routinely found ways—either through the success of his business ventures or through strategic demise and recalibration—of hide disturbances. Ye is still a biased superstar, but a superstar nonetheless.

But right now, after two consecutive weeks of offensive comments—“I’m going to go into death with 3 mode against the Jews”; “The guy’s knee wasn’t even on his neck like that” (on George Floyd); “I would prefer my children to know Hanukkah instead of Kwanzaa. At least it would come with some financial engineering”; “Bernard Arnault killed my best friend” (referring to Virgil Abloh), and more—it’s hard to imagine a future for Ye in which he bounces back as neatly as he has in the past. Alienating people, even loyal ones who expect him to return to his old ways, has always been part of Ye’s cost of doing business, but now it threatens to become his main achievement.

Call it what you will: an evil twist, a villainous narrative arc, a worrying descent into reactionary politics, a manifestation of what Ye has described as a mental disorder, a terrible side effect of extreme wealth, an acceptance of true hatred . What it doesn’t seem to be is a performance. It’s a new, brutal and damaging version of the sense of grievance that has been Ye’s essential driving force since even before he signed a record deal and released his debut album The College Dropout in 2004.

The ripple effect began earlier this month, when Ye and African-American right-wing commentator Candace Owens appeared at Paris Fashion Week wearing T-shirts that read: “White Lives Matter.” What Ye may have been putting on as an impromptu publicity stunt quickly became iconic: When Ye is questioned or attacked, he tends to redouble his efforts (just a couple of days ago, his associates were giving away those t-shirts to homeless people). in Los Angeles).

The speech quickly became uncontrollable and spread through social networks. For example, Ye began posting text messages between himself and Tremaine Emory, Supreme’s creative director, who had worked for him in the past. The interaction was cruel and stern, a back and forth between righteous indignation and outraged arrogance.

By now, the battle lines had been drawn. Ye took refuge in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, in which he suggested that the “White Lives Matter” T-shirt was “funny” and that the Clintons had been trying to control him through his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian. Shortly thereafter, Motherboard released leaked, unaired excerpts of the interview, including one in which Ye theorized that “fake children” had been planted in his home to improperly influence his children. On Twitter, he laid out a litany of complaints against Jews.

Over the weekend, Ye returned to “Drink Champs,” the rowdy and often outrageous podcast hosted by rapper NORE, only to further emphasize his despicable stereotypes. Goading Ye on or giving him the space to ramble uncontrollably, however, is beginning to have consequences, at least for others. On Monday, NORE apologized for not rejecting Ye’s hate speech live and the episode was removed from the internet.

Later that night, Ye videoconferenced Cuomo’s show on NewsNation from the backseat of a vehicle in the dark. The content of the conversation ranged from coherent to worrying, and the staging felt improvised and desperate. She for most of the time she was not able to face the camera with a steady gaze. He seemed like a man with no direction.

Perhaps most crucially, he conveyed the image of a truly selfless man: of other people, of loving advice, of a shared social ethic.

“The common understanding,” he told Cuomo, “most of the time today, is not the truth.”

And yes, sometimes that happens. But the anti-Semitic sentiment that Ye has been exhibiting is grotesque and also grotesque in its informality: they are well-worn tropes that serve only to incite hatred. (During an interview with Piers Morgan on Wednesday, Ye appeared to apologize for some of his comments. “Injured people hurt people, and I was injured,” he said, in a brief excerpt released as a pre-broadcast promo for the interview).

If this series of interviews and social media outbursts sounds familiar to you, it’s because there’s a certain cyclical quality to the way Ye has navigated his public life. Early in his career, his loudest complaints were often followed by his most ambitious achievements. But in recent years, the balance between the volume of complaints and the level of her achievement has become unstable. This recent period is reminiscent of 2016, when Ye interrupted his Saint Pablo Tour and was briefly hospitalized; shortly afterward, he publicly endorsed Donald Trump, arguing that slavery may have been a personal choice.

At that time, just like today, Ye did not turn off or could not turn off the faucet. Sometimes it seems as if Ye wants the words to mean something other than what they mean. He has burned through cycles trying out ideas in real time only to recalibrate himself when he discovers—intentionally or more likely not—the absolute limits of acceptable discourse. However, today he does not seem to have a safety mechanism at hand.

The media outlets that give Ye space right now are walking the line between responsibility and irresponsibility. He has already been suspended from Twitter and Instagram for his inflammatory behavior. He has ended his partnership with Gap. His association with Adidas is “under review.” Soon, he may run out of massive partner platforms of any kind on which to express himself.

That could explain why it agreed in principle to buy Parler, the shaky right-wing social network. (Parler’s parent company is owned by Owens’s husband. Perhaps Ye is, among other things, a recurring victim, knowing or not, of right-wing scams.)

For decades, Ye has been building new worlds and waiting for people to inhabit them. But even if she does turn Parler into her megaphone, it’s unclear if she’ll just end up just screaming at him. Expression may be free, but attention is not.




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