Kanye West has caused quite a stir in the political world in the last few weeks. A tweet saying, “I love the way Candace Owens thinks” was only the first in a wave of tweets indicating support for, or at least openness toward, various right-leaning ideas and figures, including Donald Trump. There’s no denying that this is big news considering how many people are, for better or worse, influenced by the opinions of Kanye and other celebrities. It’s also revealed a very concerning hypocrisy on the right regarding how we react to celebrity political opinions. So far as I am aware, not one conservative commentator has told Kanye to shut up and stick to making music. Compare this to the reaction to other celebrities like Colin Kaepernick and Lebron James received when protesting the national anthem and making negative comments about Trump respectively. Laura Ingraham famously said that James should “shut up and dribble”, while right-leaning media outlets continued to whine about Kaepernick and the anthem protests for some time even after the protests ceased being shown on TV or being regularly discussed by sports media.
…a very concerning hypocrisy on the right regarding how we react to celebrity political opinions.
There are numerous other examples of liberal celebrities making political comments, followed by my fellow right-wingers screeching variations of, “nobody cares about your opinions”, and “stick to making movies/music etc.” Heck even Kanye himself got a similar reaction from the right when he said George Bush doesn’t care about black people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. 2018 Kanye, on the other hand, has been embraced by the right to the point where Prager University is approvingly sharing memes with Kanye West quotes on them. I don’t like celebrities spouting liberal nonsense either, but Stevie Wonder could see the hypocrisy here. Of course, the left is demonstrating similar hypocrisy in response to Kanye’s comments but I expect that kind of nonsense from them at this point. We on the right need to be better than that. Kanye is not the only example of conservatives magically deciding it’s okay for celebrities to speak their mind only when we agree with them, but he is by far the most noticeable. That is, of course, excluding our reality TV star turned President, Donald J. Trump.
Now don’t get me wrong, is it cool that Kanye’s newfound open-mindedness is making liberals’ heads explode? Absolutely. Let’s not forget, however, that Kanye has a new album dropping in June. This apparent awakening could very well be nothing more than a stunt to generate publicity for said album. Not to mention the man has also tweeted, “Emma Gonzalez is my hero” within the last two weeks. For those who don’t know, Emma Gonzalez is one of the Parkland kids advocating for gun control, so let’s not anoint Kanye West as the next Clarence Thomas just yet. To the extent this awakening is actually legitimate though, I applaud Kanye for breaking with the leftist celebrity hive mind. That said, let’s not create a double standard here. We can’t tell Lebron James and Colin Kaepernick that it is improper for them to speak their mind on political and social issues, only to applaud Kanye for doing the same thing because we happen to agree with him. The right’s argument regarding celebrity opinions for years has been that celebrities’ opinions are no more valid than that of the average citizen and that they ought not to be considered important. I tend to think that we were absolutely correct in that stance, but regardless we on the right need to take a consistent position on this matter. It is either proper for celebrities to speak about politics or it isn’t. Pick one.