MUCH like a disapproving parent, I love Kanye but I can't condone his behaviour.
What made Kanye into this misogynistic monster?
I've loved Kanye West right from his first album The College Dropout through to this month's release The Life of Pablo. His music is distinctive, revolutionary, and with a persona as big as his, he has the back-catalogue to match. However, his attitudes towards women are vile.
My classic line whenever I hear a man speak disrespectfully either to or about a woman, is ‘how would you feel if another man spoke about your mum/sister/daughter like that?’. It’s usually the perfect put-down to make a man resemble a man-child. But where do you even start with Kanye West? At 38 years of age, you’d hope he was over ‘your mum’ jokes, but he chooses to insult his exes on Twitter like an underachieving misunderstood fifteen year old, angry at the world.
Yet at the same time, I don’t like Taylor Swift. America's favourite country-turned-pop-superstar with unfeasibly long legs has found herself at the centre of another Kanye West controversy for a second time.
It felt as if Swift and West finally settled scores and moved on after the 2009 MTV Music Awards ‘imma let you finish’-scandal, but that was until he released new track Famous (TLOP), where he raps ‘I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex, I made that bitch famous.’
I have to call time on Kanye on two fronts: firstly, to assert that you could have sex with another woman so outlandishly not only disrespects Taylor Swift, but it disrespects your wife, the mother of your two kookily named children. Additionally, to have the audacity to claim you’re the reason Taylor Swift is famous detracts from the graft and hustle of a young woman who has achieved success. Yes, she hasn’t grappled with the same issues of race, prejudice, and comes from a relative position of privilege, but her success is still her own. Yet another example of Kanye not helping his own cause.
Kanye’s not on his own when it comes to keeping women as 'bitches' and 'hoes' as companions to catchy beats, instrumental samples and smart production. For whatever reason, it doesn’t bother me. I know all the lyrics, I know all the album tracks, and I know all the collaborations. But music isn’t real life, at least to me. I don’t roll around the hood with my homies, with a piece close to my hip and a wad of fifties stuffed into my bra. Kanye’s references to women as ‘bitches’ don’t resonate with me or offend me. I know I’m not on my own when it comes to this suspended feminism when I’m confronted with the patriarchal egoism of Kanye and his contemporaries: a subject for another piece perhaps.
You might even say God has a sense of humour by planting Yeezus into a female-dominated household overrun with Kardashian-Jenners. By his own admission, he ‘had to learn to really do what [his] mother taught [him], and become the man she always knew [he] could be’. Being married to arguably the most famous woman in the world, who attempted to break the internet with her well-oiled and photoshopped ass surely forces Kanye to adopt a certain attitude towards female empowerment? The Kardashian-Jenner family owe their entire fortune and ill-deserved fame to Kim’s X-rated sexploits caught on tape. Kim Kardashian is the only person Kanye West loves more than himself, perfectly played out through his recent Twitter tirade with Wiz Khalifa, ending with the ultimate ‘#fingerinthebootyassbitch’ shutdown, courtesy of his ex-girlfriend Amber Rose. Savagery at its finest.
As a family man, with a daughter, surely his attitude towards women has been impacted. With North reminding the paparazzi, and even her family, ‘No more pictures’, she’s her father’s daughter. When in Europe last year, he talked about how he had to spend at least six hours a day with her, and ‘meetings get scheduled around her’. But when Kanye insists on referring to his wife as his ‘bitch’ on The Life of Pablo, how will that impact on North when she’s old enough to ask questions about why her mother is famous, and why her father talks about her mother in such a degrading way, especially when publicly, he defends her so vehemently?
What made Kanye this misogynistic monster? Is his mother’s death a contributing factor? Kanye’s Hey Mama on album Late Registration is perhaps the best testament to his late mother. It makes me tear up every time I hear it, and I’ve heard it about 100 times (at least). In a recent interview, he admits he blames himself for his mother’s death and that he sacrificed his mother for his massive success. Kanye believes to this day ‘If [he] had never moved to L.A. she’d be alive’ - that’s a burden to bear.
There’s maturity in acknowledging your own shortcomings, and accepting culpability. If you can take credit for greatness, be humble in the face of criticism. For a man who claims to be a God, bigger than the Beatles, and a pioneer of creativity, there is a human cost. A husband, and a father requires humility. Maybe the key to a future female-empowering Kanye lies in the woman behind the man himself. Behind every great man, there’s an even greater woman.
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