Monday, April 23, 2018

PJW on Kanye West's praise for Candace Owens

Background: Candace Owens is a right-leaning African-American commentator. Often mislabeled as far-right or alt-right, Owens is vocal on issues of black empowerment. Her philosophy is that blacks need to stop looking to the past and dwelling in a grievance culture; instead, they need to look forward to the future and begin to believe in their own ability to achieve goals and accomplish objectives on the road to true fulfillment. Instead of demanding reparations and acting wounded, blacks ought to gather up their dignity and move forward, thereby personally and collectively improving their lot. This message has resulted in all the usual racism from elements on the left* who see Owens as a race-traitor, the same way these elements dismiss black Republicans in general, as well as dismissing other black figureheads like NRA spokesman Colion Noir (who says he is constantly derided by certain lefties as a "coon" and an "Uncle Tom" for his views). Black conservatives label the totality of this leftist racism as a "stay on the plantation" attitude, i.e., blacks have no right to think for themselves and must only internalize the left/liberal party line.

Enter rapper Kanye West. During Hurricane Katrina (2005), West made a name for himself by angrily blurting out that "George (W.) Bush does not care about black people." At the time, he was on a live feed and standing next to actor-comedian Mike Myers (of Austin Powers fame). Myers, visibly shaken, did his best to move forward with the teleprompter's message, but the PR damage was done, and the camera cut away from Myers and West as soon as it was tasteful to do so. West seems to have changed his tune over recent years, however, to the point where he actually took a meeting with Republican president Donald Trump to discuss issues including black-on-black violence. West tweeted cautious praise of Trump, but ended up deleting those tweets in the face of fan backlash. He still continued, however, to rant in a seemingly conservative vein during some of his concerts, and his latest controversial deed was to tweet praise of Candace Owens: "I love the way Candace Owens thinks." Owens caught wind of the tweet and was flustered to be name-dropped by such a huge rapper; she ended up asking West whether they could meet, and that's where things stand for the moment.

In the meantime, West once again finds himself at the storm front of another fan backlash against his views, and this is where YouTube talking head Paul Joseph Watson comes in. Here's Watson's video on the Kanye West flap:

I found this video odd because Watson is normally an enemy of rappers. I also think it's premature for a rightie like Watson to lavish praise on someone as volatile and erratic as Kanye West. West's "George Bush doesn't care about black people" moment wasn't really that long ago (at least in my memory), and given that West deleted his positive tweets about his meeting with Donald Trump, there's a good chance he might not be entirely on board with the rightie agenda. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a honeymoon period between him and Candace Owens, followed soon after by a sudden rift once they realize they're really not on the same page. But who knows? I've been wrong before, and these days, I'm getting used to being wrong pretty much all the time.

*I'm trying to be careful with my language, here, because there are plenty of lefties who are perfectly fine with blacks' thinking independently. Being leftists, they might not agree with black conservatism, but they do respect any person's right to hold whatever views they please.

UPDATE: good article on Owens here. A quote from the article:

That [tweet by Kanye] caused the Left to go insane. Most of our readers (like me) probably know little about West, but he is highly influential among a broad segment of African-Americans and young people generally. His apostasy could not go unpunished. Reportedly, Adidas is contemplating canceling West’s shoe contract. But to his credit, West hasn’t backed down.

And here's Candace Owens in her own words:

Kanye West tweets 7 words and leftists rush to smear me as far-right & anti-LGBT. So what terrified them? The truth did. The left is losing control of their blacks. Ready to be awakened? [tweet 1]

Racist. White Supremacist. Homophobe. Alt-Right. Sexist. Misogynist. Crazy

Your words aren’t strong enough.

Buzzfeed. The Wrap. DailyMail. Mediaite. Complex. Twitter. Yahoo

Your whips aren’t long enough. #MindUnleashed [tweet 2]

Far right? Allow me to clarify: I believe the black community can do it without hand-outs. I believe the Democrats have strapped us to our past to prevent us from our futures. And I won’t stop fighting until all black Americans see that.

I’m not far right—I’m free. [tweet 3]

The more I learn about strong women like Candace Owens and Antonia Okafor, the more respect I have for them. In a climate in which millions of people find it impossible to imagine a black or gay conservative, it takes true balls to stand against that crowd and declare Hier stehe ich—ich kann nicht anders. And if it's true—if—that Kanye West has had his metanoia and has chosen to take a stand with these brave ladies, then I give him my respect as well.

1 comment:

John from Daejeon said...

I am very glad you introduced me to Candace Owens.

Along a similar vein, the TV show "Silicon Valley" just did an episode that was very unexpected from Mike Judge about who really has to be in the closet in the tech world/Hollywood. Track down the episode if you can, but the write-up hits the nail perfectly into a certain crucifix.

As for great TV, the second season of "Westworld" has just emerged after a very long year and a half wait.