The exploitation of Kanye “Ye” West


Ivan Mendoza

Kanye “Ye” West always made headlines for his achievements and controversies, but he recently shattered his public image with his hostile comments about the Jewish community. As his statements reach antisemitic hate groups and cause public outrage, the topic of Ye becomes complex once people recognize his bipolar disorder as a factor in his actions.

Ivan Mendoza, Reporter

Ye, formally known as Kanye West, undoubtedly left a mark on the culture. With his ties to renowned companies such as Adidas and GAP, he changed the way people viewed modern streetwear. Ye managed to build an empire with Adidas, which held a net worth of roughly $2 billion, as his designs for Yeezy sold out in a matter of seconds. Ye also revolutionized the rap industry by pioneering Chipmunk Soul production and curated classic albums such as “The College Dropout” and “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”. With 24 Grammy wins and his name constantly in headlines, Ye continued to stay in the spotlight with a versatile career lasting for decades. 

While Ye’s influence in the culture remains undeniable, it seems as if he tainted his public image and everything he has worked toward in a matter of days. From wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt to his spiteful comments about the Jewish community, his words sparked public outrage and left his longtime fans in disarray. His deliberate hate speech resulted in several business partners such as Def Jam and Balenciaga cutting ties with him. Adidas effectively stripped away his billionaire status after terminating its partnership with the controversial artist October 25, 2022. 

How Ye exploits the media

After Ye explicitly stated he would “go death con 3 on Jewish people”  and that Jewish people controlled musicians like Diddy; Instagram and Twitter took action by suspending his online accounts. His de-platforming somehow formed into grotesque comments, including claims that George Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose when coroners previously proved Floyd died from a lack of oxygen. Ye continues to platform himself in interviews with Piers Morgan and Tucker Carlson, and it appears his derogatory words continue to spiral. 

Ye loves to use tactics that rely on him blaming his faults on Jewish businessmen and the Jewish media. A few weeks ago, he ranted on Instagram about Adidas stealing his ideas and claimed he would leave the company once his contract ended. Rather than fueling his anger onto companies that stole his ideas, he now perpetuates his frustrations on the Jewish community as a whole. Even if he decided to clarify his anger toward Jewish businessmen, the idea of wealthy Jews preserves antisemitism.

“Maybe they would feel how all my people have felt. Maybe they would feel the pain of when a black artist looks up and they’ve been completely raped by five Jewish businessmen. And there’s [sic] multiple accounts of this happening,” Ye said.

His rants about victims of police brutality and his statements about straight white males becoming the most oppressed group in the United States left several fans confused. Ever since 2004, Ye rapped about systemic racism and openly criticized the prison industrial complex in songs such as “New Slaves” and “Wash Us In The Blood”. Ye even donated $2 million to Floyd’s family after his passing, so several questioned where his hypocrisy stemmed from.

When Ye offered to buy Parler, an app used mainly by U.S. Conservatives, his intentions with his statements became clear: Ye wanted to draw in a Conservative following to his products, but instead drew in far right-winged people and antisemitic hate groups. Following his hate speech, the Goyim Defense League hung a banner over a Los Angeles freeway in support of Ye while they raised their arms in a Nazi salute.

“I despise his comments and feel disgusted by them, but after seeing a couple of documentaries about him and me knowing the Kanye West that made ‘Late Registration’ and ‘Graduation’, that’s the Kanye I know. Right now, all we know today is Ye, literally… I do believe he needs help and has a mental disorder, but he doesn’t want to get the help so that’s on him,” magnet junior Taylor Weems said.

How the media exploits Ye

In 2016, Ye performed across the U.S. during his Saint Pablo Tour for his seventh studio album. After ranting about a plethora of topics and ending one of his concerts after three songs, he canceled all remaining tour dates and checked himself into a hospital for a psychiatric emergency. Doctors diagnosed him with bipolar disorder, and although he struggled heavily with his mental health, fans still supported him and people such as his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, stayed by his side. 

For people with bipolar diagnoses, communicating and sharing concerns about their behavior helps improve the way they interact with others. Due to his disorder, Ye sometimes does not recognize others’ emotions and can make statements hurting others if he does not receive the right amount of support. With Kardashian divorcing him and Ye harassing longtime friends like Kid Cudi, the artist lost people who cared about his mental health, leading him to surround himself with Conservatives and people who agree with everything he says. 

Ye recently befriended Candace Owens, a Conservative influencer several deem as a Black white supremacist. In addition to her white supremacist takes, Owens called Floyd a violent criminal and made a documentary against the Black Lives Matter movement, which supposedly proved that the media justified a summer of worldwide riots. Owens and Ye wore “White Lives Matter” shirts in a Paris fashion show that Ye hosted and since then, the influential artist constantly brings up the documentary whenever he rants about the Black community.

N.O.R.E., an American rapper and co-host of “Drink Champs” invited Ye on the show for the third time. He began the podcast by praising the artist for his numerous accolades and boasted that the last time Ye appeared on the show, his numbers “went through the roofs”. However, N.O.R.E. decided to apologize for Ye’s comments only after Floyd’s family filed a $250 million lawsuit against the artist. During the podcast, N.O.R.E. did not regulate his actions and even sympathized with Ye’s comments regarding Owens’ documentary and Floyd.

“Although Kanye’s actions are not justified, I believe his disorder makes it harder for him to deal with everything that goes on surrounding him. His bipolar disorder doesn’t justify his actions, life is just made harder for him especially when his friends know about his disorder and abuse him for it,” junior Amsha Shastrula said.

Kevin Mazur

The Future of Ye

Typical of West, he took the world by storm July 22, 2021, when he performed at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. In this performance, he walked across the stadium grounds with red clothes and a mask covering his face, with millions watching him walk alone in isolation while premiering music for his upcoming album, “Donda”. That night, fans and critics treated Ye as a spectacle and anticipated seeing the artist’s next move. 

This moment of isolation perfectly resembles his current mental state. With him constantly pushing others away and no one to support him, Ye can only react with outbursts and words hurting marginalized communities. As the music prodigy experiences a manic episode, his new group of friends will not help him. Instead, they will use him as a pawn to repeat their talking points on a higher platform. Ye remains far from innocent of his actions as he continues to make derogatory comments. In the past few days, the media developed a parasitic relationship with him and benefitted from an increase in viewership while Ye lost his respect from the public eye. Change for people with bipolar disorders only begins when they acknowledge their issues, and Ye should step away from the spotlight to find the help he deserves.