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Influence, power, and the god complex

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Written by   89
3 months ago

Recently, American rapper, designer and business mogul, Kanye West, got into a public spat with his peers over a design choice- a slogan on a t-shirt at a fashion show. As is very often the case with Kanye projects, his designs sparked controversy. The Internet was ablaze with responses, some understanding and in agreement with his perspective, many others calling out the design and suggesting that it was dangerous.

Kanye, of course, held on to his perspective and shared a bit on the concept behind the design, but his point of view was overshadowed by the tone of his responses, beginning with his response to a Vogue fashion editor, Gabriella Carefa-Johnson, who critiqued his work. And this most recent escapade has led, it appears, to Adidas placing its business partnership with Kanye West under review.

This blog does not propose to examine or critique Ye's designs, but rather focuses in on influence, the headiness of power, and the dangers of suffering from a god complex where we do not propose to listen to and engage in conversations with those we deem to be less than us.

However you may feel about him as a person, whether or not you are a fan of his work, there is no disputing the impact that Kanye has had on the American urban music and fashion industry. Beginning with his early years as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records and moving on to start his own solo career as a rapper, form his own music label, and break into the fashion industry, Kanye has kept the world of entertainment buzzing. His bold and controversial ideas and comments also helped to keep him in the limelight. He has made a mark, a significant mark, and so deserves recognition for all that he has accomplished.

Multiple praise pieces have been written about Kanye West's influence. In the Complex article, Beyond Human. Kanye West Is the Most Influential Brand in the Universe, writer Noah Callahan-Beyer writes, "Kanye West is performance art. He's an idea. A brand. A mission. An inspiring, infuriating, over-the-top, and constantly evolving contradiction of values that are articulated sometimes abstractly, and often heavy-handedly, through the man’s every expression—be it producing, rapping, singing, designing or, more often than not these days, just living. Whether it’s the curation of his clothing tonight, the selection of his beautiful, bald date tomorrow, the spare, design-forward architecture of his Los Angeles and Manhattan homes, or the costume party he and his posse threw in Paris during Fashion Week, it’s all presentation—a new vision of the world, starring him as the catalyst."

Kanye West may be all of these things, and yet... he is a man and as such, he is flawed.

When it comes to walking through the hallowed halls of success, there comes a time with all of us when applause can get so loud and so heady, we can become a bit tone deaf, we can become careless, and as we are elevated for our accomplishments, we can begin to lose touch with the people who helped to make us who we are, some of us on a much bigger scale because of the level of our success than others.

In the blog, mbgmindfulness , writer Sarah Regan describes someone with a god complex as someone who is "so fervently self-assured that they actually overestimate themselves, their abilities, and their entitlement". This individual, the article states, quoting clinical social worker, De-Andrea Blaylock-Johnson, LCSW, feels like "they're the smartest person in the room, they know best, and their reality is the reality—their experience is the experience."

The question today is, has Kanye reached that space where his shenanigans today are no longer dismissed as Ye, as he styles himself, doing Ye stuff, but rather leading to a disconnect with his audiences at such a level as it may seem like he has a god complex? Or is it that Kanye is, as he argues, being bullied for swimming against the tide and holding to unpopular ideals? Is the public outcry and outrage then an attempt to muzzle one individual brave enough to speak salient truths? Is this maybe the wrong focus for this conversation and should we instead be speaking about mental health? Can all of these opposing things be true at the same time?

That, my friend, is for you to decide. But, as I wrote in a previous article, sometimes it's not what you do, but how you do it that makes all the difference.


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Written by   89
3 months ago
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I really have no idea of the guy. I know him as someone famous but not really into his stuff.

$ 0.01
3 months ago

I have mostly watched Kanye from afar, so there really isn't much I know about him. But as you've alluded to, there is a unique difference so easy to see when it comes to him (music and fashion). All in all, I am not sure where to put my money on this issue.

$ 0.02
3 months ago

He continues to make waves, it seems. We'll see how this story evolves, I guess.

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3 months ago