Kanye West
Kanye West is currently running for US president (Picture: AP)

Kanye West himself was once a figure of black excellence. 

Son of an esteemed college professor, a young Kanye was educated, incredibly gifted and driven by a dream to realise his full creative potential in music, fashion and whatever else he set his mind to. 

Any black mother who has come from or witnessed any type of oppression will tell you that one of the greatest joys they could experience in life is to see their child beat the odds and succeed. 

Especially a young black man in America. 

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And Kanye has pretty much done it all. The 43-year-old has 21 Grammy Awards, sold millions of records and has just signed a deal with Gap for a reported $100million (£79million). 

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So on paper, it might not be such a crazy notion that a successful black man might campaign to become President of the United States. After all, Barack Obama smashed through that ceiling when he became the first black president in 2008, and President Donald Trump was a celebrity before he made it to the White House. 

But hearing Kanye’s emotional ramblings at his first campaign rally in South Carolina on Sunday made it clear that the dream on paper was certainly not the reality. 

It was beyond uncomfortable to hear him sob while revealing how he and wife Kim Kardashian considered aborting their daughter North, and it felt almost voyeuristic to hear him wail while recalling painful memories of his own childhood.

The moment that stood out most to me was when the rapper, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, diminished the legacy of slavery abolitionist Harriet Tubman and stated: ‘Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people.’ 

Especially just two years after he said ‘slavery for 400 years sounds like a choice’. 

After all of Kanye’s sensational one-liners, it probably wasn’t a surprise to hear him come out with something so outrageous.

But it’s certainly not funny as the many social media jokes and memes will have you believe, or easy entertainment for those stuck in lockdown.

In the hours since the rally, some have compared Kanye’s tear-stained face to the iconic meme of Michael Jordan crying that went viral a few years ago. Some social media users have even admitted to laughing at him weeping, while others have made inexcusable mental health jokes.

It’s not funny, it’s simply tragic. 

Tragic that such a legendary story of black excellence is being overshadowed by whatever Kanye is going through in this chapter. 

Kanye West
The rapper delivered an emotional address at his first campaign rally (Picture: AP)

In light of his comments about slavery and African-Americans, I understand why many of the black community are giving up on supporting Kanye. 

Who could have predicted this in 2005, when he delivered what has now turned out to be perhaps his most ironic statement of all? 

During a live telethon for Hurricane Katrina, the Gold Digger rapper famously stated: ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people.’ 

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It was provocative at the time, but for good reason due to widespread criticism of President Bush’s response to the natural disaster, which largely affected African-Americans in Louisiana. 

This line earned Kanye applause for being the voice of the oppressed at a time when they needed a mouthpiece. 

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However, saying ‘slavery sounds like a choice’ and essentially accusing Harriet of having a hand in slavery herself completely goes against what Kanye used to stand for. 

Donald Trump meets with rapper Kanye West in the Oval Office
Kanye has now denounced Trump for his handling of the Black Lives Matter movement (Picture: Getty Images)

It’s meant that, at the moment, he’s lost the support of the very black community he once fought for. 

For many of us, Kanye has always been regarded as one of the greatest musical talents of our generation, a legendary producer with a unique ear for throwback samples and quirky double entendres in his lyrics.

Watching such a dramatic downfall isn’t something true fans delight in. Even if his ramblings have been entertaining at times in the past, there comes a time when the laughter and mocking has to stop.

But shunning him might not be the answer. 

We all know Kanye has always been eccentric and will continue to be, but the past few years have been something else entirely.

I hope he can be redeemed. I feel the missing link in keeping him grounded may be his friendships, which appear to have suffered in recent times.

Jay Z and John Legend were notably among Kanye’s closest friends in the industry and have held him to account in recent years, albeit at a distance. 

Of course, it’s their prerogative whether they have the patience to help steer Kanye back to some of the values he once held. And maybe in years to come, he’ll find his own way back.

Either way, it would be nice to once again see Kanye held in high regard for his talents rather than legacy-destroying antics.

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For all his ego and bragging, he is human after all.

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MORE: ‘People are really concerned’: Kanye West’s presidential bid branded ‘disturbing’ as he admits daughter North was almost aborted

MORE: Kim Kardashian fans question her silence as Kanye West talks about divorce at campaign rally

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