Here's Why Right-Wingers Are Suddenly in Love With Rap Star Kanye West

Once Kanye said he loved far-right pundit Candace Owens, it all went downhill from there

US musician Kanye West arrives to attend Givenchy's Fall/Winter 2014-2015 men's fashion show in Paris on January 17, 2014

When Kanye West returned to social media from his nearly yearlong hiatus, most fans were elated to read his one liner, fairly harmless philosophical tweets like "don't trade your authenticity for approval" or "all you have to be is yourself." This came peppered with weird prototypes from his Yeezy clothing line but also announcements of new music from some of hip-hop's most celebrated artists and most excitingly, that Kanye was producing their projects. It was a good time to be a Kanye fan, and you could almost forget his naive meeting with President Donald Trump in late 2016.

Almost.

Then, Kanye tweeted: "I love the way Candace Owens thinks."

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If you're unfamiliar, Owens is a black conservative media personality and the communications director for Turning Point USA. But her claim to fame is a video that went viral of her belittling Black Lives Matter activists in front of a tiny audience of white people wearing MAGA hats. She tweeted out the video, describing protestors as "a bunch of whiny toddlers, pretending to be oppressed for attention."

 

Another thing Owens contributed was the ahistorical and fantastical charge that police brutality is a "pretend" problem that has nothing to do with racism. She also tweeted that Trump is the "savior" of the free world. In sum, she says the things the far-right wants her to say — while speaking almost solely to white audiences — and it enables them to hide behind her rhetoric under the protection that it's not bigoted or anti-black because she is a person of color.

Naturally, after Kanye's endorsement of Owens, the pro-Trump conglomerate came out in droves to applaud West, who, more than a decade ago, went on national television in 2005 and said "George Bush doesn't care about black people." They likely didn't listen to any of his lyrics from 2004-2013. Perhaps Kanye forgot about all that, too.

But Kanye's fans remembered. The disappointment from the hip-hop community has been substantial and uncensored. How do you continue to make excuses for a musical genius who keeps aligning himself with people who are unapologetically anti-black? The answer is, you can't, especially as Kanye doubled down on his comment and said to Ebro Darden from Hot 97 that he loves Donald Trump, and followed up his Candace Owens tweet with border-line "alt-right" ideology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right-wing pundits are suddenly doing backflips to defend Kanye. Among them was none other than Alex Jones, who tweeted Kanye and said: "I admire your bold moves against the thought police. And if you want to see these control-freak vampires really go crazy, please join me on my broadcast!"

 

As if Jones and Infowars coming to your rescue is not bad enough, then Bill O'Reilly jumped in to defend Kanye from "the American Stalinists," he tweeted with news of a new column.

"The American Stalinist movement has no use for democracy and that is a growing danger to this country," O'Reilly wrote. "In the past year, America has witnessed a frightening number of Stalinist-type attacks on free expression. If you disagree with Black Lives Matter, for example, you are shut down as a bigot. If you suggest due process to the Me Too Movement, you are a misogynist. If you wear a sombrero as part of a Halloween costume at Yale, you are denigrating a minority group and therefore must be punished."

O'Reilly continued, "The situation is so extreme that, in some places, ALL Caucasians are being branded as racists simply because of their skin color. . . We are now at the point where fair-minded people need to rise up and punish the boycotters. I will soon buy an Apple product and I don’t even care what it is. I will also write down the sponsors of Laura Ingraham’s program and purchase their stuff as well."

What's Kanye's end goal here, in isolating and offending his original fanbase and rubbing internet shoulders with the far-right? It can't just be about stoking controversy for the sake of his new music, because Bill O'Reilly is not buying the new Kanye album — no matter how good it is.

Andrew Barber, founder of the Chicago media company Fake Shore Drive, seemed to make Kanye's motive abundantly clear when he tweeted that #Kanye2024 posters with the slogan "Keep America Great" are posted all over Chicago.

 

Kanye has said he plans to run for president in the near future, but he hasn’t said which party ticket he’d shoot for. Given his recent political expressions, it’s very possible he’s vying for a Republican endorsement. And if you want to win the Republican ticket with no political experience, which Trump has proven and Kanye seems to recognize, you buddy up with the far-right.

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Rachel Leah reports for Salon.