I heard that Kanye West is saying he thinks ‘black people chose slavery’. I was shocked when I heard this and I quickly tried to find the clip of Ye saying this. I’ve learned from watching politics over the years that the media (with little to NO exception) has a way of spinning what a person says in a way that conflicts with the overall point said person was attempting to make. Since much of the hoopla surrounding Ye as of late has much to do with the wearing of a “Make America Great Again” hat and publically vocalizing his love for Donald Trump, I thought about the normal political spin to make a black man sound ‘crazy’ and thought I’d better find the clip of Ye saying this out of his mouth for myself. If you are in an argument with a person and they keep repeating something ‘you said’ and keep ignoring what ‘you are saying’, they are displaying their inability to listen. They may also be completely unaware of their own behavior and are acting out the cognitive dissonance they feel caused by a valid point you’ve made. Listening is a skill. Ineffective listening is a phenomenon that exacerbates discussions and arguments quickly into massive misunderstandings. I think you think you know where this is going. Let me know if you’re right.
After watching the clip in question via TMZ, where Ye says he thinks black people chose slavery (which, of course, is ridiculous) I quickly realized what had happened. Ye is not being listened to. Before I go into details about what is happening with Ye on TMZ, I think it important to state here, I know many people reading this have already decided that I am about to make an excuse for what Ye said. I can assure you I am not. I also predict that prior to the finishing of this sentence, many of you have made up in your minds that Ye is wrong and does not know what he is talking about and, nor do I. And to all of you I say, you’re contributing to the phenomenon I am currently writing about. You are not listening to me now. Read what I have to say and weigh the evidence I provide and then, disagree with me if you wish. It’s ok to be REALLY wrong on Earth in human form. I do it often. I also think this is a point Ye is proving (on purpose I think it important to mention) that is being ignored as well. Also, understand that just because you wish something weren’t true doesn’t make it not true.
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years...for 400 years?! That sounds like a choice like...you were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all?!,” says Kanye West. “We’re mentally in prison. I like the word ‘prison’ because slavery goes to direct to the idea of blacks.” These are the words that came out of Ye’s mouth. He went on to talk about how ‘people’ try to ‘minimize’ him to being ‘just an artist’ or ‘a rapper’. He also listens to what is being said to him. He apologized for upsetting those in the studio who had witnessed his perceived ‘rant’ and told Van that he loved him and then went on to give him a hug. I thought the people at TMZ were all attempting to ‘understand’ Ye’s point of view better, and not argue with him, right? Seek first to understand.
I did not hear Ye say, nor insinuate, black people ‘chose’ slavery. I actually heard Ye attempt to not even use ‘slavery’ as the metaphorical fulcrum for his argument. It’s obvious in the TMZ clip that some of the listeners are not in agreement in what he is saying nor do they seem to put much effort in understanding his point as much they want him to understand theirs. TMZ’s Van Lathan interaction is an example of this. He decided he would defend the thoughts and feelings of, not only himself but, of those people thinking what he is thinking, “People of color did NOT want to be enslaved!” It is also apparent Van wants to let Ye know just how uninformed he sounds.
“It sounds like you are NOT thinking!” Van Lathan shouts at Ye after it seemed obvious Ye is done with the interview. This is the ‘last word’ that many of us have experienced with a person we’re arguing with. This becomes the shot that is heard around the world. This is not a new phenomenon. Think of the miranda rights used by the police in this country we’ve all come to know. They do not say ‘anything you say can and will be used in court’. They say ‘anything you say can and WILL be used against you’. I don’t think this is accidental or coincidental. This is an engineered element of our judicial system and this is also how much of the media on this planet function.
We will all find out this Friday (June 1, 2018) what all the fuss is about...hopefully. With the addition of the Drake vs Pusha T beef happening right now, I think it important to note the value of lyrical content in hip-hop music happening again. We are all listening to what these black men have to say and I think that might have been the point Ye was trying to make the entire time.