The Kanye West Effect

By: Jocelyn Alesio ‘24


Kanye West is in a web of trouble, all of which he brought upon himself. West isn’t the only artist to use this particular form of attention grab to get his name in the media, but he’s taken things too far. 


West’s music career has had a tremendous effect on the music industry. With an insanely large discography and a monthly listener count nearing 50 million, it’s clear he has made a name for himself. Before his antisemitic comments, he was known for his comments to Taylor Swift and his episode during the VMAs. Many fans turned their backs on West due to his childlike behavior, but both Swift and a plethora of other fans forgave him.


He has since built an empire for himself. He had tons of partnerships and was living a positive life with his now ex-wife Kim Kardashian and his children despite battling bipolar disorder. 


There is no true speculation as to why West started acting, saying and posting things as he did from October to current. It seemed to have started with the public act of wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt to Paris fashion week, which caused Adidas to review their Yeezys partnership. He continues to dig his own grade on Twitter, announcing he is going to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE”

This threatening, antisemitic tweet got his Twitter locked. Early on, Adidas cut its ties with West. The Gap followed closely behind. West expands his hate to other minority groups, making statements regarding George Floyd and his cause of death and adhering to pro-life thoughts. 


A numberless amount of antisemitic comments were said/written by West in different interviews and platforms. The impact these comments have on people is terrifying. In late October a banner was paraded over the Los Angeles freeway exclaiming that “Kanye is right about the Jews.” 


Very difficult issues continue to be brought up and reviewed. The first is how much his mental illness is actually contributing to this seeming deep-rooted hatred he exerts and how much his fans can justify his behavior with his bipolar diagnosis. His mind is his own and is one of the only things about celebrities the media cannot directly dissect. Regardless, the media can dissect what he is saying and classify it as awful and even a hate crime. 

The insane 21st-century shock factor is that he is not “canceled.” People continue to listen to his music despite his character. Can someone with so many aggressively opinionated fans be canceled? What more must he say for people to realize how negatively he is impacting people’s identities? How much can we separate the art from the artist?