Mr. West has officially left the building and gone out to lunch.
In a podcast with Bret Easton Ellis, the ‘Black Skinhead’ rapper compared his forays into the world of fashion to the traumatic, life-altering experiences of Solomon Northup, the protagonist in the film Twelve Years a Slave.
Read what Mr. West had to say below via Complex Magazine:
“I felt like the main character [in Twelve Years a Slave]. And what I’m dealing with even as a mega-popular rich celebrity, you know, ‘Fuck you, who do you think you are to complain about anything?’ situation that I’m in. In the past when I’ve dealt with attempting to create in other fields, or attempting to create in clothing. I’ve kind of been on this campaign that started with, ironically, my song, ‘New Slaves.’ Where I was sitting in Paris and dealing with all of these companies that I had promoted, and I saw my friends promote it. And the reason, literally, why they would sell on Barneys’ floors is because me and Jay Z and everyone wore it. It’d be something that maybe I kind of discovered four years before then me and Don C started putting it on-trend.
Then you start doing more research and say, ‘Hey, I want to be a part of the creative conversation and be able to make money off of that also.’ They stop you right there and say, ‘You can’t be a part of that conversation,’ or they’ll give you a one-off. At Louis Vuitton I did one shoe. At Nike I did two shoes but they spread them apart over four years and they had the most impact possible. I kind of saw that side of what it was, as a creative, to be free, the parallel to the main character in Twelve Years a Slave. When it was taken away from me, it felt like what it felt like as a creative to be enslaved.”
Listen, in light of West rocking the Confederate flag to Barneys, in addition to the whole ‘New Slaves’ thing he has poppin’ off, I’m beginning to wonder what baggage he’s trying to unpack.
Comparing every form of oppression, every ism, to slavery has become common and the false equivalency is dangerous.
Nothing, I repeat nothing is like slavery but slavery. And to suggest otherwise is intellectually lazy, narcissistic and condescending. Like we just won’t get it –whatever it may be — unless you compare it to state sanctioned murder and forced servitude.
Bottom line: Solomon Northup had twelve years of his life stolen from him. He was drugged, kidnapped, ripped from his family, tortured and brutalized. He did not have his creative freedom stifled and there is not one comparison that could respectfully be made between the two.
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