The Illusion of the Celebrity Savior

As Kanye West declares yet another bid for the presidency, it's important to ask more from your candidates

The Illusion of the Celebrity Savior

Photo Credit: Getty Pictures

In the evening hours of last night, Kanye West announced that he was running for president. This sent many people in a frenzy. Is he running? Are we in a climate as to where there is a pathway of him winning? Is this all hullaballoo? This proclamation from West probably sounds familiar because it is. West declared that he was running for president in 2015 in his Vanguard award acceptance speech that was ironically presented to him by Taylor Swift. A full year ahead of that election and what happened? No specific policies were given. No one was floated to join as a vice president pick. No town halls. No campaign ads. No speaking until it was time to sell us something

West has recently released a new single, a ten-year deal with Gap, and new shoes. Before some people will rush to cast their vote for him, I’m going to ask you to pause for a second. I’ll indulge the actual thought that he may consider running even knowing that the deadline to submit his name to certain states have passed. Consider that this announcement may be like one of those targeted ad campaigns that may follow you around Twitter or Facebook. How would he even begin to navigate one of the biggest social justice movements of our time? It’s not going to be saying things like “slavery is a choice.” That Black people have a ‘victim mentality’ as if despite all the long-standing, institutionalized reasons why minorities still fall short in the country - it’s just as easy as saying you will no longer eat sugary foods.

I know. I know. Some people may still be mourning the loss of old Kanye. He even mocks that notion in the song, ‘I Love Kanye.’

“What if Kanye made a song about KanyeCalled "I Miss The Old Kanye"? Man, that'd be so Kanye”

Looking at the past will have you ignoring the present. Yes, we remember the albums and the famous “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people” quote during hurricane Katrina. Maya Angelou once said, “When a person shows you who they are, believe them.” The polo wearing, consciousness-rapping Kanye West is long gone and has been for a while. Someone can chop up a soul sample or has great business sense - those merits alone should not warrant a person decision making power over billions of people.

It’s not just about Kanye West. He just happens to be an example of a bigger issue. Undoubtedly, there will be stories in prominent news outlets contemplating how this ‘presidential run’ would happen. We have five months to go. “Who will Kanye potentially steal votes from?” Due to the pandemic, America has been put face-to-face with its love affair of individualism. This virus doesn’t care how much money you have or how large your house is. It’s not going to avoid you because of how many likes or impressions you get. What it has been showing is how interconnected we all are. When you go to the ballot box this November, think about how your vote could affect someone other than yourself. The president of the United States doesn’t just make decisions for an audience of one.

“I’d vote for him. It couldn’t be worse!” Change is hard. It’s not as easy as putting a fresh coat of your favorite colored paint on drywall. Changing systems that have been in place for centuries takes a very long time. I hate to tell you that no celebrity is coming on a diamond-studded chariot to bring about that change any faster, either. No amount of celebrities that sing your favorite pop songs in a black-and-white video as their gift to social justice will either. It takes work. It takes getting your hands dirty. It takes challenging outdated systems and beliefs until they fall like a porcelain statue outside the town square.

When did the job of being president get as manufactured as a dating reality TV show? Are we that disenchanted that we are considering people with no legislative service in their background? There are some valid criticisms in regards to the electorate or our two-party system, but let’s not cut our noses off to spite our face. A president, in conjunction with the houses of Congress, can change so many things, for better or worse. Let’s not treat the office like a weekly vote for a singer or a bachelor with a rose. Ask more and set a higher standard for your elected officials.

So, Kanye West will release another album called God’s Country and maybe this all dies down yet again. Like the fireworks that have been going off for some time now, let the bombast die and focus our attention on making America work for the many and not a campaign for the next product.