Stage invasions, confounding statements, outlandish comments and unabashed braggadocio are only a few phrases that can be used to describe the persona of Kanye Omari West, the American rap star and recording producer. Just when the world thought the self-professed god could do nothing to surprise them anymore, the highly controversial maverick pulled yet another stunner by announcing that he will be running for president in the 2020 American presidential elections during his acceptance speech for a lifetime achievement award at the 2015 Video Music Awards on Sunday. Kanye did what he knows how to do best. Get the world talking.
Even though the Atlanta, Georgia born egomaniac practically confessed to “smoking a little something to knock the edge off” before showing up at the awards show that night, a keen follower of his antecedents and achievements would not make light of his declaration regardless of how ridiculous he may have sounded. The 38 year old thrives on controversy. It would not be an overstatement to say that Kanye West is synonymous with controversy. From storming out of the 2004 American Music Awards after losing out in the category of “Best New Artist,” to shunning the script he was supposed to read at the concert organised for the Hurricane Katrina victims back in 2005, rather, opting to call out former president George Bush whom he claimed doesn’t care about black people, to his biggest outburst yet, which involved crashing the stage and grabbing the microphone from singer, Taylor Swift while she was giving her speech after winning in the category of “Best Female Video” at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, opining that Beyonce deserved to win instead, to the shock and consternation of millions of viewing audiences around the world, coupled with several altercations and scuffles with the paparazzi. It is fair to conclude that Kanye is one man who doesn’t shy away from any appearance of trouble.
While many may be wont to dismiss his unexpected announcement as the punchline of a serial rabble-rouser, I choose to see things in a slightly different light. First of all, as a citizen of the United States, the young man is allowed to dream of attaining the number one position in the country just like any other citizen. Secondly, for all intents and purposes, Kanye appears to be a genius at what he does! Yes, he does have the tendency to get ahead of himself sometimes, but the stats speak for him! Kanye West is one of the best selling artists of all time, having sold more than 21 million albums and 100 million digital downloads. He has 21 Grammy Awards to his credit, therefore making him one of the most awarded artists of all-time and the most Grammy-awarded artist of his age. All of his six studio albums have gone platinum. His middle class background consisting of a Christian counselor father and a Professor of English mother certainly does him no harm either, so who says he cannot aspire for the apex office in the land, particularly as America is often peddled as one nation that provides the enabling environment for anyone to achieve anything they so desire irrespective of class or social strata.
However, assuming Mr West actually intends to go through with his proclamation, one cannot help but wonder if he will be running as a democrat or a republican (even though I doubt if his ideology would fit into any of these parties), or choose to run as an independent candidate being the non conformist that he is. Already, the democrats have welcomed his candidacy. It will also be interesting to hear what he would consider an apt slogan for his campaign. In the mean time, political twitter has reacted in spectacular fashion to West’s announcement with memes and suggestions of possible slogans that would adequately capture the enigma that he is; with different schools of thought suggesting catchy sentences like “I’m gonna let you finish,” “YE or Nay,” “It’s KANYE, not KANTYE,” and countless other suggestions, all aimed at encapsulating the quintessential Kanye West. The perspective that his marriage to popular reality star and equally controversial Kim Kardashian will bring to all of these will also be interesting to see.
The Kanye West presidential bid appears to be a huge joke at the moment. Many have pondered on the sort of cabinet he will constitute; with names like Beyonce, Rihanna and Ti popping up as would-be members of his government. One other theory is that Kanye will not actually be contesting to win the election, but to champion a cause aimed at sending a clear message to his ilk and protegees that anyone can aspire to anything, like he said after the release of his tripple platinum certified first album titled “College Dropout,” whose overall theme was geared towards encouraging people to make their own decisions and not conform to the dictates of the society. Kanye may just be out to make a huge statement.
Regardless of whether he chooses to follow through with his declaration or not, I believe that the outspoken celebrity is one man who isn’t afraid to fail (don’t we all need a dose of that kind of confidence?), and the only person who can halt the force of the conundrum called Kanye West, who has been dubbed the Donald Trump of the entertainment industry is none other than Kanye West himself.
P.S: I apologise for the late post. Much as I tried to get this piece out on time, circumstances beyond my control didn’t allow it happen.