A GUIDE TO WHERE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE KANYE WEST STANDS ON THE ISSUES
After Kanye's announcement at the VMAs, it became imperative that we explore where exactly he stands on some of the most important issues facing our nation today: http://nym.ag/1NLzrsM
- •RacismKanye's music and performances deal heavily with issues of racism, but in several interviews, he's said his view of America's core problem has evolved. "It’s about class and it was a classist move that even when you get invited to certain dinner parties, or even when you’re in certain magazines, it’s still a Dinner With Schmucks situation," he said in a 2013 Wild 94.9 interview.
- •The Confederate FlagKanye believes that the Confederate flag is a symbol of slavery and racism, not merely southern pride. That much we know. However, he may want to reclaim the flag rather than removing it from state capitols. He's worn the flag and featured it on his tour merchandise, explaining, "I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. It’s my flag now, now whatchu gonna do?
- •Tax ReformIn the midst of the 2012 election, Kanye rapped, "I be all up in Goldman Sachs like these n—– trying to hold me back, these n—– trying to hold me back, I’m just trying to protect my stacks, Mitt Romney don’t pay no tax, Mitt Romney don’t pay no tax." On the one hand, this supported Harry Reid's now-debunked claim that Romney evaded paying taxes for years, but on the other hand, 'Ye seemed to sympathize with the billionaire candidate's financial troubles. So still a little unclear.
- •EducationOn The College Dropout, Kanye detailed his complex feelings about leaving school at 20. But he did establish the Dr. Donda West foundation to combat illiteracy and low graduation rates, among other efforts (it ceased operations in 2011). But he also said he doesn't like reading books so this may be an actions speak louder than words thing.
- •Marijuana LegalizationHe hasn't addressed the issue specifically, but considering that his announcement speech included the line, "Ya'll might be thinking right now, 'Did he smoke something before he came out here?' The answer is yes, I rolled up a little something. I knocked the edge off!" we'll assume he's pro-legalization.
- •Public HealthKanye has done his part to raise awareness about AIDS, but other advocates were not thrilled when he declared at the 2005 Live 8 concert tour that AIDS is a "manmade disease" that was "placed in Africa just like crack was placed in the black community to break up the Black Panthers." He might need to clear up his message.
- •Foreign PolicyAs we learned in 2005's "Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)," Yeezy is very concerned about West African children forced to mine "blood diamonds." He has yet to weigh in on the Iran deal.
- •Income InequalityHe did visit the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations with Russell Simmons, who said in an interview that Kanye "deeply supports the movement." And during a lecture at Oxford University earlier this year, Kanye also had a lot to say on the discrimination inherent in $5,000 sweaters.
- •Prison ReformKanye earned praise from the likes of Michael Moore for criticizing the private prison system in "New Slaves." He raps: "Meanwhile the DEA / Teamed up with the CCA [Correction Corporation of America] / They tryn'a lock niggas up / They tryn'a make new slaves / See that's that private owned prison / Get your piece today."
- •First LadiesKanye is against First Ladies being awarded Vogue covers for unadventurous fashion choices. In 2013 he argued that his wife, Kim Kardashian, was more deserving of a cover than the current First Lady, saying, "No one is looking at what Obama is wearing. Michelle Obama cannot Instagram a bikini pic like what my girl Instagrammed the other day." Expect more sunbathing on the South Lawn of the White House.
- •Why He Should Be PresidentBack in 2013, Kanye explained on Bret Easton Ellis's podcast, "We’re currently led by the least noble, least talented, least respected, least respectful people — politicians. Period. But the world could be saved through art and design ... If you’re creative, therefore, you are God, a god of something." Politicians have had their chance; why not switch things up with a president who literally is a god?