On the Perception of Black Artists as Possessions
In 2013, Kanye West gave an interview with The New York Times where he discussed the different treatment he received in the fashion industry. West had called the fashion industry out on its racist ways on several occasions, and in one meeting he said an executive actually admitted that the company wanted to “control” the hip-hop star. “I’ve had a meeting where a guy actually told me, ‘What we’re trying to figure out is how we can control you.’ In the meeting to me! Why do you want to control me?” West said during the interview. Mic contributor Tom Barnes couldn’t agree more. “There’s an unspoken undercurrent in many of today’s artistic businesses that creative people are tools, content-makers off whom the business people profit,” Barnes wrote as he acknowledged West’s good point.
Mainstream Media’s and the Government’s Lack of Concern for Black People
Back in 2005, Kanye West shocked more than 3 million viewers during a live TV fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. At one point, he went off-script and, among other things, said, “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people.” He also blasted the media for the way they portrayed the Black victims. “I hate the way they portray us in the media,” West said as actor Mike Myers, on stage with him during the segment, grew visibly nervous. “You see a Black family, it says they’re looting. You see a white family, it says they’re looking for food. And you know it’s been five days because most of the people are Black.” Years later, Myers admitted that West was right.
“I assume George Bush does care about Black people — I mean I don’t know him, I’m going to make that assumption — but I can definitely say that it appeared to me watching television that had that been white people, the government would have been there faster,” Myers told GQ in 2014. “And to me that’s really the point.”