Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge Kanye West fan. I might just be the biggest Kanye West fan to have ever been born — certainly one of the most dedicated (says Kanye himself, more on that later). Or I was. Until Kanye began to change.
I first heard of Kanye West in the summer of 2003. I was listening to my favorite radio station and the DJ introduced his first single, “Through the Wire”. I was floored. I thought the song was pure genius. I had to find out all I could about this new artist, this “Kanye West”. As I learned about him, I came to love him more and more. His style of music, dress, speech, and physical appearance (especially his smile), appealed to me more than anything I’ve ever known. I’d ask people “Do you know Kanye West?” If they said they did not (most people at the time, of course, did not), I would reply “Well, you will soon. He is going to be one of the biggest stars in the world.” I was star-struck, for the first time in my life.
I joined KanyeWest.com, one of the first subscribers, and began helping to organize concerts at venues across the U.S. and spread the message about my favorite artist. The interesting thing about this is that I’ve never been to a Kanye West concert myself. I used to be afraid of what would happen; I would probably make a fool of myself in the presence of the man I’d put my life on hold to marry in a heartbeart, so I did not take any chances. But I did get to speak to Kanye, one on one, online. He was as personable, kind, and down-to-earth as I’d imagined him (He even used lots of smilies). He thanked me for being one of the first to support him on his website and expressed excitement about his career and being able to live his dream. I began to connect to him on a personal level, he was more than a “producer turned rapper” to me.
Fast forward to November of 2007, when tragedy hit — Kanye’s mother, Dr. Donda West died. I was not prepared for the news, at all. A friend sent me an email stating this in the subject line and I thought “Why does she think I would believe this is funny?” — I thought it was a joke. As I read the email and news story, I knew it wasn’t a joke. Donda West had passed away at 58 years old. I shed a single tear. I began to think of how Kanye would cope without his mother. She was his best friend and much needed supporter. Despite what many people believe, Kanye is not naturally egomaniacal or extremely confident. He needs reinforcement. I predicted it would be downhill for him without his mother to cheer him on. And I was more right than I wanted to be.
So when exactly did Kanye West begin his major decline from multi-talented, Grammy-winning superstar to a temperamental ticking time bomb? Some say he was always that way, and I agree that he can be touchy, especially regarding his craft. But he was never like he is now — the death of his mother, and subsequent lack of support and encouragement, spurred his backward slide into self-destruction. I firmly believe that everything from the Taylor Swift-gate to his recent involvement with the controversial Amber Rose, would not have occurred had his mother been alive. Not only would she have disapproved of his antics, but Kanye would have had the direction and guidance that he has known all his life. I was annoyed and hurt when Jay Leno mentioned his mother during the Tonight Show — it was a low blow. But I hoped Kanye would learn from that experience.
Except he didn’t.
Recent events have found Kanye rehashing stereotypes involving black male/white female relations, to negative reviews (see KanyeWest.com
for his latest, banned album cover). Now all I wonder is why? Why, Kanye? Why have you abandoned your fans? Why have you strayed down the wrong path, with seemingly no hope of ever finding the right one again? How could you be so heartless?