At least Kanye West is self-aware. He knows his addiction to fame is killing him. The rapper-turned-presidential candidate battles his addiction with religious faith.
The rest of us, particularly those of us who rushed to social media to mock West’s latest smoke session from the fame pipe, could use a teeny bit of Kanye’s self-awareness.
West opened his presidential campaign Sunday in South Carolina, speaking to a small, private gathering of supporters. As he’s prone to do, West free-styled his 50-minute stump speech, riffing on topics such as abortion, race and Harriet Tubman.
He suggested giving every mother $1 million as an incentive to slow abortion. He cried when revealing he pondered the possibility of aborting his daughter. He stated that Tubman did not free slaves; she had them work for other white people.
Kanye West is running for president because he can’t think of another endeavor that would bring him more fame. The College Dropout artist is now touting Jesus is King because he can’t think of any other person capable of healing his addiction to fame.
I admire Kanye. I have empathy for him. He’s battling the disease sweeping and destroying America.
It’s a drug more addictive and deadly than crack cocaine and heroin. It preys equally on the rich and the poor, black and white, educated and uneducated.
Fame is this generation’s Big Tobacco, a toxic habit marketed to the public as cool, liberating and sophisticated. Twitter is the Philip Morris of fame, and the social media app’s retweet and like buttons act as nicotine. Donald Trump or LeBron James — take your pick — is the Marlboro Man. Just like the famous cigarette advertising campaign, Trump and James make the neediness of fame appear masculine.
An insatiable desire for affirmation is the ultimate “daddy issue.” It banishes young women to the stripper pole and causes men to sacrifice all values in exchange for popularity.
America is having a daddy crisis. It’s really that simple. The absence of fathers and the dramatic shift in the role of fatherhood have emasculated this country and created widespread identity issues. We’re crowd-sourcing positive affirmation.
At least Kanye recognizes the problem. Hardly anyone else does. That’s why there was such a rush to ridicule West’s rambling political speech and mock his comments pertaining to Harriet Tubman. His point was not difficult to understand. As a black person living in the era of American slavery, you couldn’t be truly free until you had all the same rights and freedoms as free white men.
But the quest for fame does not allow for nuance, especially via social media. Vilification, generalization and bigotry best serve the interest of fame on Twitter.
Sunday, ESPN broadcaster-turned-race commenter Jemele Hill fed her Kanye-like fame addiction with a Trump troll that dwarfed her 2017 Trump tweet that led to her demise at the Worldwide Leader. Hill tweeted:
“If you vote for Donald Trump, you are a racist. You have no wiggle room.”
The tweet garnered more than 200,000 likes, 50,000 retweets and 35,000 comments. In comparison, her 2017 tweet that labeled Trump a white supremacist and launched her second career as a race firebrand was a mere gateway drug. It has just 33,000 likes, 16,000 retweets and 8,000 comments.
They say a drug user would rob his own mother to feed his addiction. Hill has admitted several times via Twitter that her beloved mother voted for Trump in 2016.
Jemele, is your mom racist? https://t.co/6YCKvwcQNz— OutKick (@Outkick) July 20, 2020
No wiggle room? It’s such a dishonest, childish and bigoted perspective that Hill and her employers ought to be embarrassed. But fame addicts do not know shame. Their thirst for attention overwhelms dignity and any sense of fairness.
If the price of fame is maligning half of America, Hill isn’t the only quasi-celebrity willing to pay that bill. Why shouldn’t they? Nike, ESPN and other American global corporations will fight for the opportunity to reward Hill for her bigotry.
Hill, Trump, LeBron and Kanye are all working out their daddy issues on social media stripper poles. At least Kanye knows he can’t get into heaven wearing a G-string.