, 2022-11-16 17:07:51,
Kanye West is a “genius,” but people keep trying to educate him. After West put Black models in “White Lives Matter” shirts for a Paris Fashion Week event, Black Lives Matter organizers invited him to take an online class on Black Power. If he understood what Black Power really meant, the reasoning goes, he would champion it rather than engage in interviews and publicity stunts that legitimize white oppression and undermine Black liberation.
But Kanye knows about Black Power. He was raised on Black liberation ideology by his mother, Donda West, an activist-turned-English professor. He is the product of a home grounded in the movement’s traditions and is at the top of a musical genre built on an identity, aesthetic, and sound that encourages Black pride and self-determination. Part of West’s appeal lies in his ability to manipulate Black Power phrases, principles, and people over beats. He deftly deploys this movement iconography to gain Black legitimacy while serving white supremacy.
Donda created a “home adorned with African art, sculpture, statues, and hundreds of books,” and had a parenting philosophy rooted in Black empowerment. “In a society where our legacy is surely the love of our forefathers but also the hate of slave masters, it is imperative that parents consciously teach the love of self, the courage of Malcolm, the wisdom of Martin, the tenacity of Marcus,” she wrote in Raising Kanye. But the rapper didn’t need to look to men to see…
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