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For Kanye West, fame should not outweigh responsibility


The artist was recently banned from Twitter and Instagram for expressing anti-Semitic beliefs.

While I’m scrolling through my Spotify playlist, the song “Violent Crimes” by the American rapper and fashion designer Kanye West, now known as Ye, comes on. Instead of singing along like I usually do, I immediately pause the music. As a Jew, it is only natural to believe that continuing to listen to E’s songs after his radical and reckless anti-Semitic remarks is also a heinous crime.

In a deleted message dated October 8, E wrote that he was going to leave Death against the 3 Jewish people.” According to E, he could not be anti-Semitic because all black people are of Jewish descent.

I have been one of E’s followers since I was eight years old. Every playlist I made started with Ye as the first artist because his music offered more than rap. He perfectly balanced a wide range of styles including hip hop, soul, electro, indie rock and gospel. He was a revolutionary – “was” being the key word.

After posting anti-Semitic comments on both Twitter and Instagram, E was restricted from the platforms as he violated their policy. Fashion brands including Balenciaga, Adidas and Creative Artists Agency ceased all business relationshaving destroyed his empire.

Anti-Semitism is nothing new to the Jewish people – we have lived through wars, mass genocide and been the victims of endless hate crimes. So I’m not surprised that another person is spreading hate. However, the big problem with E’s bigoted comments is his massive platform of 31.7 million subscribers – more than double the number of people who identify as Jewish today.

Jews make up 14.6% of NYU undergraduates and graduate studentsand in an institution as diverse as ours, students feel free to express their opinions regardless of race or religion.

“It was certainly fair of Kane to remove him from Twitter for his anti-Semitic comments,” SPS freshman Ananda Daniels told me. “I think yes, people make comments like this online all the time and Twitter does everything they can to remove them, but with Kanye, he has such a big platform and following that Twitter noticed him before — along with others — and it it is his duty to handle his platform properly.”

In 2016 fans began to notice a change in behavior in E. Since then he has been admitted to a psychiatrist and with a medical diagnosis bipolar disorder. While his diagnosis may explain his behavior, it does not excuse him. E’s statements affect the identity of his followers, family, close friends and brand deals.

“I think even when I’m not listening to Kanye [his comments] blatant and ignorant,” said Antonia Mendez, a freshman at Gallatin. “It actually makes me less inclined to listen to his music because it seems completely unnecessary and unexpected. I know he’s had mental health issues before, and I feel like that there are so many headlines about Kanye that I’m desensitized to anything new about him.’

The line between supporting an artist’s freedom of speech and demonizing a minority is gradually thinning. Ye’s comments are an open threat to the Jewish people, and while he will likely not be prosecuted for his tweets, it will be ironic if his fame continues to prevent him from fulfilling his civic duties.

His comments are fanning the flames of right-wing violence and encouraging others to express their anti-Semitic sentiments. Members of the White Supremacist Goy Defense League hung banners over him Los Angeles 405 Freeway with caption “Kanye is right about the Jews” and Bible proverbs, October 22. inspired by the statements of E to create new propaganda campaigns.

“Kanye thinks he’s a god and that his words won’t have consequences, yet he has one of the biggest social networks,” LS sophomore Lea Yael Setton said. “I’m not surprised by his comments, but they really bothered me because he has no right to talk about another community that doesn’t involve him, especially when he says nasty things … I lost respect for him and his work.”

Our community is strong, but limited by our combined power of action and justice. We cannot fight hatred with our own violence. At NYU, our community is supported by the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life, where students can gather and share information about our culture and religion. In conversations with my own Jewish friends, opinions varied – yesi thought E was funny and others were not surprised by his bipolar episodes. Someone was outraged, someone didn’t care.

“He craves attention, and I feel like everything he does is extravagant and takes it to the next level for money and fame,” said Kaylee McCabe, a CAS freshman and die-hard Ye fan. “People will still continue to idolize him no matter what and feed off his psychoticism because of his willingness to show it.”

Saying that Ye is a misunderstood genius does not excuse his actions. Society cannot continue to condone his behavior and allow him to emerge each time even more powerful than before. Now I’m faced with a severe internal conflict and I’d be lying to myself if I said I’d never listen to E’s music again – that’s unreal. However, I choose to grieve for the man he was.

Maybe you should stop falling, dreaming and talking in your sleep – the whole world is watching, and these night thoughts have ruined his entire reputation.

Contact Melissa Dzeravich on tel [email protected]

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