Is Kanye a hypocrite or is he self-serving ? It’s a fair question considering the media blitz surrounding the rapper’s new Yeezus tour coupled with his highly publicized rants about racism in fashion industry.
While Kanye’s complaints are justified (there is racism in fashion, Yeezy is not paranoid) Fashionista’s Jihan Forbes wonders why Kanye is selling confederate flag emblazoned merchandise on his Yeezus tour, and why he’s not being the change he desires.
Forbes also wonders why, if West is so concerned about racism in fashion, he doesn’t use women of color in his shows or dress his fiancee Kim Kardashian in designs by people of color.
For his first runway showing in a cast of about 21 girls, only three were black. The ratio was the same for his Fall ’12 effort. One would think someone so concerned about racism in fashion would make add a little more color to his runway, no?
West dresses Kardashian and regularly shouts-out “Céline, Lanvin, Givenchy, and Alaïa…not Tracy Reese, Cushnie et Ochs, Stella Jean, Mimi Plange or Duro Olowu. In fact, Kim recently wore Dolce & Gabbana, designers who published “slave earrings” last year.” Last week, Gabbana attended an Africa themed Halloween party in Milan and posed with Alessandro Dell’Acqua who was dressed in blackface.
As an internationally known artist, Kanye West is in a position to really spark some change in this industry. However, in some ways he’s managed to maintain the status quo. It seems fashion is only racist when he is not given the praise and recognition he feels he deserves, or when it’s relevant to one of his songs.
Like many artists, West has an issue articulating and manifesting the changes he desires outside his medium. West has power but is afraid to, or does not know how, to exercise it. Instead he’s looking for approval from people he admires, people who mock him and people of color. His pathology is sad, twisted and emblematic of celebrities of color who are struck by white supremacy, capitalism and patriarchy. Just look at how West explained the Confederate flag issue to a radio station: “It’s super hood and super white boy approved at the same time. That’s really what my style has always been.”