An Investigation: Why White People Hate Kanye West So Damn Much » VSB

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An Investigation: Why White People Hate Kanye West So Damn Much

Human Rorschach test Kanye West closed out last night’s Billboard Music Awards with performances of “All Day” and “Black Skinhead” that were bleeped so many times they should have just had him holding a sign with the word “censored” as the entire performance. The reactions on my timeline and newsfeed about his pyrotechnics ranged from pissed to exasperated to amazed to frustrated. Basically, the exact same range of feelings about Kanye whenever he performs or interviews or drops new music or names his children or appears at NBA games or tries to order sashimi at Burger King.

There was one feeling missing, though: Hate. Again, there was not a lack of Kanye-inspired negative emotion on my timeline and newsfeed. But even the people most turned off by him don’t hate him, they’re just extremely annoyed by and/or disappointed in him.

But most of the people I follow on Twitter are Black. As are most of my Facebook friends. And when I leave the confines of my self-imposed Negrotown, that hate starts to appear.

Sometimes it appears in the comments sections of places like Slate and Gawker, where some people appear to be so incredulous of and angered by the fact that some people actually don’t hate him that it El Ninos their already burgeoning hate fire. Sometimes it’s so literal that, well, it can’t possibly be any more literal.

Obviously, not all White people hate Kanye West. He has millions of White fans willing to attend every show, buy every album, and excuse every attempt to convince us plus-sized Ziplock bags are high fashion. And, more importantly, hundreds of White writers, bloggers, critics and other arbiters of popular culture consider him to be a musical genius. But while it’s true that not all White people hate Kanye, if you do happen to encounter someone who hates Kanye, they’re at least 976% likely to be White.

Why, though? Where exactly does this hate — this anger orgy of all things Kanye-related — come from? Let’s look at a few theories.

1. His outspokenness and apparent arrogance

Ah, yes. Nothing burns the type of White person who’d expend actual effort hating a Black person who A) they’ll never, ever, ever meet and B) has never committed any real crime deeper than a Black person who gives no fucks about telling everyone how awesome he happens to be. This arrogance is unexpected ginger in their tea; a wasabi smoothie burning their nostrils making them wonder why the hell they thought it was a good idea to order a wasabi smoothie.

Still, there are other Black public figures as loudly and unambiguously confident in their abilities as West, many of them don’t receive this type of animus (Tyson, Mike; Jordan, Michael), and some of whom can’t even grow beards (Pierce, Paul).

That in mind, I’d say there’s a 36% chance the hate is caused by this.

2. His ordeal with Taylor Swift

We don’t have to revisit what happened when that happened. Or why what happened happened. Or even why what happened after it happened happened. Just know that the only way you’re going to make that many White people angry again is if you discontinue the production and sale of kale.

Hate cause likelihood: 271%

3. His comments about George Bush

Is often blamed for some of the hate the White people who hate Kanye feel. But at that time, no one — Blacks, Whites, other members of the Bush family, grammar, etc — was really fucking with Dubya, so Kanye was preaching to the choir.

Hate cause likelihood: 4%

4. His sleeping with a very famous White woman

Perhaps it’s due to her (relatively) dark hair/skin and “un-American-sounding” name. Or maybe it’s because of her being romantically linked to basically nothing but Black men. Regardless of the reason, it does seem like (some) White people don’t necessarily claim Kim Kardashian as White. I mean, if they had a big-ass All White People In America And Shit Picnic, she’d probably get invited. But she’d probably have to eat with paper plate and a single spork.

Hate cause likelihood: 14%

5. His status as an “artistic genius”

This one is tricky, because this particular form of hate is actually a reaction to the love other White people give him. Even if you don’t agree with the lauds about Kanye’s talent and musical genius, you at least have to acknowledge that there are very many people who do. Some of whom study and write about music and pop culture for a living, and generally have people take their opinions very seriously.

Thing is, giving Kanye — a rapper who produces rap music — that type of praise angers certain people who believe rap music is simplistic and elementary. (And, for many of them, rap is simplistic and elementary because it’s something created and cultivated by mostly Black people) Calling a person associated with rap a “genius” legitimizes an artform they believe to be illegitimate. A rapper can be entertaining. Or hard working. Or popular. But because all it apparently takes to create rap music is some nursery rhymes screamed on top of a beat machine, rap is inherently unsmart. And if rap is inherently unsmart (and inherently Black), you can not exhibit any type of real intellect when creating that music.

Hate cause likelihood: 198%

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Val

    He’s Black

    Hate cause likeliness: 1000%

    • KB

      and unapologetically black, which further infuriates white people.

      • Val

        You’re right and that ‘George Bush doesn’t care about Black people’ comment just added fuel to the fire.

      • Alias Darker

        i dn’t know, i’m black and i hate his guts

      • adolph putler

        OH YA “white” LOL THAT EXPLAINS IT

    • It always seemed to me that Ye dislikes them and fiends for their approval too. Everything around Ye is weird to me.

      • miss t-lee

        Yup. It’s truly bizarre.

      • Val

        Yeah, like his love/ hate relationship with the fashion industry.

  • Brandon Allen

    #5 and #1 are absolutely correct. There’s kind of an anti Taylor Swift wave out there so that reason fell off. But they’re just mad he loves himself and is successful. Mayweather is smiliar. Floyd is hated for legitimate domestic violence issues but the real reason is hes arrogant. If floyd was a holyfield esque mush mouth boxer he’d get less hate. But he talks a good game…so hate. Kanyes succeeding and talking about and not playing guitar? instant hate.

  • The Kanye hate also comes from the fact everyone has a Kanye they “like” but then he changes and they’re like wtf… People who like a hole Ye are turned off when he does his Michael voice, or fans of pro black Kanye roll their eyes when he lauds Kim, College Dropout stans hate Yeezus, MBDTF stans hated Watch the Throne… He manages to endear himself to one crowd and turn off 5 others. Fascinating, really.

    • Dougie

      yea, people really hate the evolution of Kanye instead of respecting him as a complex human. Like we all are.

    • Animate

      I can honestly say I like every musical incarnation of Kanye out there. Every album, including 808s and Yeezus, has gotten their fair share of spins.

      I’ve found that most people find that one album that they love and then latch on to the artist at that time. Anything else is trash and they need to go back to that album. Exhibit A – Usher, Confessions.

    • Shawntay Murray

      That’s possibly the most accurate description of Kanye. No one who is currently hating wants to admit this, because you have to recognized the ability to continue on after having alienated each fan base!

    • Skegeeaces

      Sounds about right to me.

    • Jasmine

      I’m convinced it’s that Gemini in him. Literally loathed and lauded at the same time.

  • Dougie

    So the Yeezus album couldn’t be a #6?

    • KB

      I still haven’t heard the Yeezus album, not because of any religious objections (thought that was quite funny) but it came out during my annoyance with Kanye phase so I had no desire to give it a listen.

  • *Goes to Kanye West concert with 90% white people*

    • Been to two shows… Was like the only black people there, except this one group who had snuck in and got caught later

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Sooo a Kanye concert is like a Hammer concert back in Hammer’s prime?

    • miss t-lee

      “*Goes to Kanye West concert with 90% white people*”

      That’s pretty much every rap show I attend.

      • Blackest show I’ve ever been to was Wale it was still pretty mixed tho

        • miss t-lee

          Every show I’ve been to from Slim Thug to De La to The Clipse to Ghostface.
          We were in the minority.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            This is one of those areas where the disposable income gap comes into play. The only place where you truly see majority black crowds are:

            Essence
            Russ Parr / Tom Joyner cruises
            St. Lucia Jazz Fest

            • miss t-lee

              I believe it.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                Soo is rap going the way of jazz or is it already there and we should expect our artists to pander to their money masters?

                • KB

                  Don’t forget blues.

                • Val

                  Going? Rap has had a majority White fan base since the 90s.

                  • Sigma_Since 93

                    Acceptance is the last step.

                • miss t-lee

                  IDK.
                  Hey…you gotta eat? I can’t knock the hustle.

            • KB

              Went to Outkast’s ATLast tour in Atlanta back in September. Before Kast came out they had all southern acts: Devin, Bun-B, Tela, 8-ball and MJG, Goodie Mobb, Kilo Ali, Sammy Samn, Lil Keke (I think), B.O.B, Rae Sremmurd, and others and the crowd was about 70/30 white to black.

              • miss t-lee

                This happened last year at ACL for Outkast, but I didn’t expect it to be any different.

                • KB

                  Even Wacka Flocka, one of the niggiest of N!&&@$ has a majority of white folks at his shows. The only rappers I can think who’s shows are still probably majority black are Plies and Lil Boosie #holditdown

                  • miss t-lee

                    Boosie? You’d be surprised.
                    Especially down here.

                    • KB

                      I was hoping he might be the last bastion of black folks being the majority in attendance at his shows, but alas.

                    • miss t-lee

                      hahha. NOPE.
                      My old HR mgr knew more Boosie than I did, then again she was a down home white chick from a small azz town in Louisiana, but still.

                    • More than a few white folks listen to Boosie and Kevin Gates.

                    • miss t-lee

                      Please believe.

                    • Val

                      Is Boosie the one who’s chexing his cousin? Lol

                    • Epsilonicus

                      Kevin Gates

                    • miss t-lee

                      no. Kevin Gates “allegedly”

                    • Val

                      I thought he admitted it though?

                    • miss t-lee

                      If you’re familiar with KG, he talks so much sh*t it’s hard to tell what’s fact and what’s bullish*t.

              • Right here in Philadelphia. ..the Roots picnic. Buncha caucasions callin you “bro”….and askin for “loosies”.
                Smh.

            • Any African festival is still majority black

            • Val

              And the venue matters too. There are some venues White people generally won’t go to and some that Black people generally don’t go to. For instance, there are some venues in wine country here that Black artists play that Black folks don’t generally venture to.

          • The only show that I’ve been to that been nearly all black was Rae & Ghost and Mobb Deep.

            • I went to Mobb Deep concert at like midnight once. Bunch of 40 something drunk dudes missing the crack era when they were really making money.

              • I’m sorry, Malik. I saw them in Charlotte a few years ago so it was mostly a bunch of people who were in high school when the Purple Tape and the Infamous dropped.

          • Well the shows where we’re in the majority tend to also feature a high risk of gun play, so there’s that…

            • miss t-lee

              Please don’t think just because there isn’t a high percentage of us at those shows, that there isn’t f*ckery, afoot.

              • Epsilonicus

                I done been to shows where I ducked out early bc I could see some ish bubbling

                • miss t-lee

                  Yup.
                  Smart people do.

        • Why would you go to a Wale concert?

          • She was bad

            • Can’t never be that bad.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              White Michael Jackson Bad or Black Michael Jackson Bad?

              • White Michael Jackson was the one who dropped Bad though.

                • Sigma_Since 93

                  You missed the Kanye reference Ricky. #slowjamz from College Dropout reference

          • Damon Young

            was about to ask the same thing

          • Andie

            LOL

    • I barely hear any of his music on black radio. I know they aren’t feeling it down here like that.

      • They still play Jay though. NYC radios were playing darn near the entire Magna Carta album when it dropped.

        • Jay still gets spins down here too.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Your thoughts on his you tube diss?

            • Tube diss?!?! I don’t keep up with Jay now. What did he do?

              • KB

                Basically went on a whiny rant disguised as a freestyle because Tidal has essentially flopped, blaming the fans for supporting things like YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, etc and not making him richer buy subscribing to Tidal, the black owned music streaming service.

                • I see that I didn’t miss anything. He bores me know.

                  • KB

                    You can only rap about expensive art and vacations to exotic Italian villas so much until the people grow tired of your music.

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      You can only rap about the struggle / crack game so much until people grow tired because you’re not about that life anymore. He’s in a box.

                    • Val

                      @KB & Sig, yep, both of you are right. That’s why a rapper like Drake can go on forever. He raps about universal stuff.

                    • KB

                      Folks knock Drake, but the homey can flow.

                    • Val

                      I’m not really a fan. I don’t like his voice. I grew up on rappers with some bass in their voices. Lol But, I do respect that he mostly avoids the stereotypical themes most rappers adhere to.

                    • KB

                      women loves that he isn’t afraid to talk about his emotions and failed relationships, and if you have the women the men will follow.

                    • Val

                      And women are the main consumers in terms of actually buying music.

                    • I don’t like the kid due to his whining and nasal singing. He does have talent but I’m not a fan.

                    • dmcmillian72

                      This is exactly how I feel about Drake. I can not…and will not…say that he isn’t talented. BUT, I just can’t! He sounds like when my nephew was 13 and his voice hadn’t deepened yet…rapping about p@ssy! Naw, Playa! I just CAN’T!

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      only because women ain’t going anywhere….unless @disqus_QGKOTi1oX5:disqus corners the market with her Hott Toddin ways!!! lol

                    • Val

                      There may be VSBers who Hottodd as little as I do but none less. I never Hottod, man. Lol

                    • Whining about women and passive aggressive abuse are universal? This can’t be life.

                    • Val

                      My point was; the things Drake raps about are more universal than the standard things rappers rap about. Like cars that cost a million dollars, cough syrup induced highs, private jets, etc.

                  • miss t-lee

                    LMAO

                • miss t-lee

                  and it was whiny…

                  • Well he does hang around Kanye so I expect whiny from him.

                  • KB

                    He gets like that from time to time when he feels he isn’t getting the complete adulation he feels he deserves.

                    • Jay is too big to complain about anything.

                    • KB

                      Those types are probably the biggest complainers. They’re used to getting their way and when things don’t go as planned/hoped they pout.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      He ha a reasonable point. People just dont want to hear it from him

                    • Val

                      No one wants to hear it because it’s to self-serving. It’s not like Tidal is employing hundreds of Black folks.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      Number of employees doesnt matter. Most tech companies dont have high number of employees

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      Jay could take all the black employees in silicon valley and only have 4 employees.

                    • Val

                      And whether those tech companies have 2 or 20 or 200 employees you can bet that Black employees are few. Which was my point.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      Still Black owned, even if Tidal only got 5 people working there. Jay cant do anything and win.

                    • Val

                      How’s that? It seems he’s already won.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      Folks gonna criticize. We say support Black business. So Jay creates one that fits his lane. Folks criticize it to kingdom come despite the fact that it costs just as much as its competitors. Then he has a reasonable gripe, people complain that he gripes despite that he is providing them just what they ask for, a product that is profitable and a bit more fair wage than its competitors.

                    • Val

                      This goes back to my previous comments. First; I really don’t think that anyone is supposed to support a Black business just because. (And I’m all for supporting Black community businesses) Second, Tidal is not a superior product. I’m really not into music streaming services but from what I’ve heard Tidal costs more and gives the same or less than other services.

                      So, isn’t Jay just saying support me becasue I’m me? As I said, it would be different if Tidal was a major employer of Black folks in tech. But, I don’t think that’s the case.

                      So, once again, why should we support Tidal?

                    • I support black people being in business, but not because of “economic power” or “group economics” or anything like that, but because I expect them to respect their consumers (more than their competition) and go out there and make the best product that they want or desire. A lot of black people who go into business end up feeling like they’re European Aristocrats and feel superior to the black people they want to consume their services and don’t even pretend to hide it, and then become shocked when black people don’t buy their mediocre products, leaving them to lament that money doesn’t “circulate in the community.”

                      Being a business owner is great, but if you’re not submitting to the desire of customers and are chastising them, you can kindly go eff yourself. People work hard for their money and often have the freedom to use it whichever way they please, if they’re going to spend it on your product, over downloading on the internet (free), going on spotify (cheaper), listening to youtube videos (not as mobile or convenient), and all you got as a response is a soliloquy; I hope the gods of the free market deal with you accordingly.

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      Jay can’t win for losing. From his wells in Africa, to providing the bail money for the Ferguson protesters, to revamping a model to put more money in artists pockets, to the Roc Academy, he can’t win.

                    • Val

                      He will be okay. Lol

                    • Good for him on his philanthropic enterprises but he’s being the whiny modern capitalist. When undertake a business you run the risk of people not paying for what you’re selling. Ain’t no such thing as a half-way capitalist. If the demand isn’t there it isn’t there. He was a dope dealer so he should know that.

                    • KB

                      I have a sneaking suspicion that he and Bey’s bailing out of the Ferguson protestors was done so in an attempt to possibly get people on his side to support/sign up for Tidal. A lot of people have accused him and Bey of being “tone deaf” to what’s going on in regards to speaking out about police brutality and the “black lives matter” movement. I know it’s a bit of a reach, but Jay is a mastermind so I wouldn’t put anything past him.

                    • mssporadic

                      I agree with you. Also, he chastising the very people that he wants to pay for Tidal. That’s not going to work either. I don’t pay for Spotify, so I’m not paying for Tidal. I’m not in marketing or PR, but he doesn’t seem to be providing anything special at Tidal. Had he came out with exclusive content from the gate instead of that stupid press conference, he might have increased his numbers that day.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      He had exclusive content. The issue is that paying for streaming is passive. People do it and forget about it. So its hard to change their spending habits.

                      Example, most people just accept the local energy provider. Very few people actually shop around for their energy. Yet if you offer someone a cheaper alternative, they will still pay the higher amount because thats the name they know. People are stubborn, even to their detriment.

                    • mssporadic

                      Did he advertise the exclusive content though? I remember him saying there would be, but not that they were available the day of the press conference. If he really wanted to do it right, he should have put the On the Run Tour on Tidal or exclusive BTS of the tour. Something to get people talking about Tidal. Sure, no one wants to pay, but people like shiny and new toys and he didn’t sell it that way. Overall, I think his biggest downfall was he thought his ego and popularity could sell it and it’s not. Maybe he should’ve consulted Dr. Dre. No one can tell me what makes Beats by Dre better than these 5 Below headphones i have, but everyone has them.

                    • Illumina

                      To me Jay Z biggest marketing snafu was not having the lower tier artists he claimed to be helping on stage with him and the other multi-millionaires at their train wreck press conference. Because to the great unwashed the only thing people saw was a bunch of rich people complaining about how they aren’t getting paid enough. Independent and lower-tiers artists should be the face of Tidal as much as some of the big names. If you don’t see them, it’s all lip service.

                      I pay for Spotify, so paying for a streaming service is not something new to me. However according to various sites I’ve read, Tidal is subject to the same contract terms with labels as their rivals. An artist only paid more to if you sign up for the premium streaming ($19.99). Tidal’s biggest pro-artist stance may be that they don’t offer a free-streaming plan, but that is what most consumers want.

                    • miss t-lee

                      Yes, he did advertise exclusive content.

                    • Illumina

                      But is the exclusive content worth paying for? Spotify has 60 million users, but only 15 million are paid users. So not only is he fighting to lure paying customers over to his service, he is also trying to convince people non-paying customer to start paying. Chastising non-paying potential customers really isn’t the way to increase your user base.

                    • mssporadic

                      Exactly!!! He isn’t offering anything to make a person move to Tidal. There are indie artists or non-American artists that I like that don’t have a lot of live footage on youtube. He could have advertised that on Tidal and I might have paid for it. Give me something that I can’t get for free right now.

                    • KB

                      Nearly everything Jay has touched has turned to gold. Folks have damn near unequivocally supported him for years (even the Dynasty and BP2 albums went multi-platinum). He rolled out a product/service that people aren’t really feeling so far. The way he announced and rolled it out turned people off, just go back to the drawing board and re-strategize. No need to whine/complain because it’s not mega-successful out the gate because it makes you come off as spoiled and entitled.

                    • Val

                      Is this sarcasm?

            • I just watched that…

              Can I borrow some yawns because I’m out.

    • Epsilonicus

      Most shows in Baltimore that are not at the arena or Rams Head Live are mostly Black shows.

    • Thats like going to the yearly “Roots” picnic. Majority of the crowd is white…crushing the front of the stage like a mosh pit.

  • blogdiz

    “White people angry again is if you discontinue the production and sale of kale”

    Well Damon arent you on a roll this fine Monday morning… Dead

  • Charlisia Nwachukwu

    I too hate Kanye

  • blogdiz

    A more Bewildering question to me is ” Why do black people love/defend Kanye so damn much ?
    You are basically dealing with a dude who started out the gate like Malcolm X but all the while was really Elridge Cleaver or worse Clarence Thomas
    And musically he is overrated…..Yeah I said it
    PS. I’m black

    • ouch.

    • Val

      I think comparing Kanye to Toure is more valid. He’s definitely not as bad as Eldridge or Clarence Thomas.

      • blogdiz

        Well Clarence may be a stretch but Kanyes Def Elridge with a touch of Toure another poster said it best it was something like …

        Some brothas militancy about people civil rights is about making changes to a fundamentally broken system.
        whilst some brothas militancy about civil rights is about their own selfish desire to gain access to a fundamentally broken system.

        Kanye falls squarely in the latter group

        • Illumina

          I can see that.

        • Freebird

          Sway is that you?

          • blogdiz

            LOL

        • menajeanmaehightower

          “whilst some brothas militancy about civil rights is about their own
          selfish desire to gain access to a fundamentally broken system.” This is Kanye. He’s disingenuous.

        • T.Q. Fuego

          This can be said about the majority of boughie black folks though. Especially the ones who proudly proclaim their status as boughie. That’s why Kanye’s the boughie black savior. Their values and worldview matchup perfectly

    • DCET

      Agreed, at the least Don Lemon. I’m black and I am deeply disappointed and cannot stand him.

    • Jannibah Coleman

      This! I’ve talked for hours about why I can’t stand his tail and you summed it up in three lines.

    • cakes_and_pies

      Because of Donda. He isa solid “That boy ain’t been right sense then.” trope.

    • Brandon Allen

      Cuz the music is hot. People s politics will eventually disappoint you

    • menajeanmaehightower

      This is my thing. It’s not just white people who don’t like him. He’s a complete douche. I can’t stand him. He craves for white approval and complains like a little *itch!!

    • OdasbestfriendMingo{???}

      You aint fooling us, BECK!

    • Rich Garriques

      your not black

  • NoPlaysOff

    If you ever want to piss off a 20 something year old white woman, mention Kanye’s name and see them start FUMING! I have witnessed this in the workplace, in undergrad and on countless social media outlets.

  • That #5? I don’t particularly care for Kanye, but I had to defend him to my (mid-40s, white, male) colleague after the faux rush to stage Ye did when Beck won his award.

    My colleague actually said, “I wonder if he even knew who Beck was before that.” :/

    Me: Look, Kanye may be a lot of things. Stupid about music is not one of them.

    • K Lust

      Yes. “Look, Kanye may be a lot of things. Stupid about music is not one of them.”

    • miles b

      If you go back and look at his blogs from back in the day he actually posted about beck quite a bit.

      • Yeah, and he references Beck in “Get ’em high,” too. I think it’s just that there are so many white people who believe that rappers/hip-hop artists don’t have any working knowledge of music outside of rap and hip-hop (and RnB).

    • He probably made that statement because he didn’t know who Beck was before the Grammys.

      • He’s definitely less familiar with Beck than Ye is.

    • Kanye actually admitted that he never listened to that Beck album before the awards show and he heard it not long after the show and was digging it lol

      • Yeah, but that’s different from what my coworker was getting at. He was saying that he didn’t think that Kanye was familiar with Beck before this year’s Grammy’s.

        • Yea he was wrong to assume that. But still, Kanye was trolling. At the end of the day though it was funny and it got Beck more publicity so win, win.

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