52°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

A Meeting of Kindred Spirits

Back in October, Kayne West—an American rapper—sat down to meet with President Donald Trump to discuss topics such as prison reform. However, it didn’t exactly stay on that path. It seems that Kanye came to the Oval Office to discuss a variety of topics—some that were on opposite sides of the political spectrum. While watching the video interview, we can see that the discussion goes down a very windy road, as it jumps from topic to topic. While both parties have the right to free speech, one can see that some of the claims made by Kanye aren’t entirely correct.
The interview starts with Trump discussing the relationship he has with the North Korean government, which he believes is currently on good terms. What does this have to do with the subject at hand? Who knows? As we progress on in the interview, Kayne makes a statement where he says that, “people expect that if you’re black, you have to be Democrat. . .” and also “ . . . welfare is the reason why a lot of black people end up being a Democrat. . .” I don’t think one can assume that race and political preference have a connection. African Americans have the freedom to be Democrat, Republican, Green-Rainbow, or Independent. The subject of race doesn’t need to be brought into the topic of political beliefs. Kanye also says  that, “we got rid of the mental health institutes . . . and prison rates shot up.” I don’t believe that would be a factual statement; crime is not tied to mental health. I believe that mental health does play a factor in a good percentage of crimes committed in the United States, but it’s not the single deciding factor.
Further into the interview, Kanye makes some politically conflicting statements. While he says that wearing the ‘Make America Great Again’ hat— whose popularity rose during the Trump campaign—gives him power, he also claims that he loves Hillary. This is making him sound more of an Independent, rather than a Republican, since he is “in love” with each opposing candidate. However, he states that when he puts on the MAGA hat, he “feels like Superman.” Kanye also states that he is in favor of bringing jobs back to America and funding mental health and education. While Trump is in favor of bringing back jobs to America, is he in favor of mental health and education? In the 2019 budget process, Trump proposed a thirty percent cut to mental health, and a five percent cut to educational spending. That is the opposite to the values expressed by Kanye. So why support Trump, if he doesn’t match your values? Statements were also made that the Thirteenth Amendment needs to be abolished, though it was established to prevent the practice of slavery in the United States. I would hope that we keep the Thirteenth Amendment, so we can keep peace and equality among all races and ethnicities.
Kanye does mention that if Donald Trump doesn’t look good, the American people won’t look good. This isn’t completely true. The president may represent the country, but he doesn’t represent each individual American, especially those who didn’t vote for Trump. Trump is just one president; there were many before him, and there will be many after him.
After watching the interview, I have to say that Kanye did an excellent job, using his voice and influence to give some insight to the President about some of the issues that are going on in our country. However, I feel that Kanye should have brushed up on his research before making the statements that he did. Many of his statements were inaccurate and didn’t follow stated facts. In addition, the course of the interview was not straight forward. Kanye went from topic to topic without pausing to recoup and focus. Trump also didn’t do any justice, by not showing the proper amount of respect to Kanye. Now Trump did say, at the end of Kanye’s speech, “. . . well I have to say that was pretty fascinating. . .” which doesn’t sound like a sincere compliment to Kanye—which he is owed.
As you can imagine, and have probably seen, the media had a play day with this interview, some going far left and some going far right. CNN’s Don Lemon made very critical statements about the interview, which caused great debate around the country. In earlier instances, Lemon can be found making numerous remarks about Trump being racist. However, now that this interview has surfaced, he finds more comfort in attacking Kanye for his actions. Lemon referred to the interview as a “minstrel show,” and states that Kanye embarrassed the black community by acting the way he did. He also states that he “shouldn’t be the person representing the African-American community,” as well as, “. . . Kayne’s mother is rolling over in her grave.” This is a very harsh attack to a person who is trying to voice his opinion. Kanye isn’t trying to embarrass the African-American community; he is simply stating his beliefs to the president and trying to seek change. Other members of the media, such as Jimmy Kimmel, made a statement saying, “this is a conversation that would typically take place between two people wearing hospital bracelets,” attacking both Kanye’s and Trump’s mental health. News anchors Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle also take a stance on the interview, saying it, “was bonkers” and that it was “an assault on our White House.”
Could this interview have played out a little better? Yes, I believe it could have. However, this is the way it is, and people need to accept that. I believe that Kanye should have stuck to the topics he originally come to the oval office to talk about. Kanye should have refrained from going “off-topic.” Did this interview do justice to Kanye’s agenda? It possibly did, when you get rid of the negative feedback from the multiple media sources. This interview is likely to help shape future political discussions, both in a positive way, and a negative way.
Sources: