Yeezus Christ Superstar: Walking Away From Our Idols
by RULA AL-NASRAWI
Yeezus is crucifying himself
On a raised floating cross high above the fans and the critics and those who lie somewhere in between "fuck Kanye and his rants" and "Kanye is a genius." He is crucifying himself and no one asked him to.
How do we mourn our heroes? Do we mourn them at all or do we stand behind them, holding their bodies up through death and well into the afterlife? When Achilles died, did people line the roads with candles? Did they weep for him or just scoff at his weak heel? How do we mourn our heroes if they're still living?
We only praise the mad when it suits us to. Not when it makes us feel less than, or helpless. When the helpless make you feel helpless, you know your world has been shaken.
I don't know when it started. I didn't notice. I found it refreshing when he openly bashed and bullied Taylor Swift because in all honesty, I can't stand the bitch. I celebrated every new album, every graduation into the next phase of Kanye. I loved every version. I stood beside pink polo shutter shade Kanye, and fallen phoenix Kanye, and blood on the leaves civil rights fisting Kanye and too wild ultralight beam real friend Kanye. I stood and stood and stood. Under that floating stage. I left my own life at the door just to sunbathe in his words. I grew stronger. I touched the sky. I made waves. But now, I am just exhausted.
I defended the rants at first. I told people that if they hated the rants so much they should stop going to his shows and leave space for people who actually wanted to be there. Save your money and spare yourselves. I told people that he was forever going to be an eccentric in the rap world, he wasn't going to give you Jay Z precision and Kendrick politics. He was going to pull you into the eye of the hurricane. The eye of Hurricane Yeezy. And you are going to like it and bask in it and appreciate it for the filthy chaos that it was.
I defended his relationship with Kim. I told people, "but they are perfect for each other," and "they are happy together, so why does that bother people so much?" I felt for them and rolled my eyes at them at the same time. For their insane thirst for fame and notoriety but also the reflective glare of pop culture side eye they received. The Vogue cover controversy, the Jay Z and Bey comparisons, the memes and the jokes. Kanye was defensive but he had every reason to be. As a celebrity couple, they would always be lesser than. The volatile rapper and the reality star. He tried. He threw out Kim's Baby Phat collection and forced her custom-fit ass through Anna Wintour's doorway in full Balmain. But the people who wanted to laugh still laughed. And when Kim was robbed and gagged and bound in Paris in October, those same people laughed and called the whole thing "a stunt."
When Kanye began touring again, and ranting again, this time the rants changed. They felt a little more unhinged. Finally in November after Donald Trump became our new president-elect, Ye announced to thousands that if he had decided to vote in this election, he would have voted for Trump. It terrified fans but made sense to those that scoff at the Kanye West brand. Both seemingly egotistical, both Twitter trolls, both interested in becoming President without any political experience. He then cancelled the rest of his Saint Pablo tour. Then he was checked into hospital for exhaustion. And then, after a few weeks of recovery, Ye emerged, as blonde as the president-elect, in Trump Tower. A manic blonde phoenix rising from his own ashes.
What is happening? Is he bipolar? Is he schizophrenic? Is this just part of the "Kanye being Kanye" narrative? Or is this version of Kanye a new narrative he has chosen for himself? Where do we draw the line with excuses for this man? We may still appreciate his mind and his vision, but how can we truly respect a Trump supporting mind? A mind that says "George Bush doesn't care about black people" on live television and turns around and supports a man who vouches for white supremacy and alt-right wonder bread Americanness. I say that mind needs help but I also say I'm done making excuses for this mind. Jesus walks. Yeezus walks. I want him to walk away and out of my life but I know he will do no such thing. His obsession, his neuroses, whatever this is, is all out there on the table now. He is exposed and surrounded by the fucking wolves. And I am too tired to continue to stand for him.
Lost in his own zone, the king has been dethroned.