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Conservative activists, Elon Musk, conspiracy theorists, and alt-right goons are all loving Kanye.
Fans who were once overjoyed by the return of Kanye West to Twitter in mid-April might be wishing the American rapper, fashion designer, and entrepreneur had stayed offline.
After just one week of tweeting, West has expressed support for conservative commentator Candace Owens, said he believes Black Americans are guilty of self-victimization, reportedly professed his support for President Donald Trump, and shared videos of pro-Trump pundit Scott Adams explaining how West will lead the public into the “Golden Age.”
“Kanye West for President in 2020” is suddenly sounding appealing to an entirely new crowd of followers.
The strange turn began on Saturday, when West tweeted, “I love the way Candace Owens thinks.” Just hours earlier, the conservative commentator had shut down a Black Lives Matter protest at UCLA and told the protesters that they were giving in to “victim mentality.”
I love the way Candace Owens thinks— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 21, 2018
Owens, of course, responded favorably and told West that he’s a major inspiration for her work. In interviews on Fox News, Owens criticized liberals who took offense to West’s support of her and said that the Democratic party was just “afraid” that it’s “losing its Blacks” because more Black people are becoming “free thinkers.”
I’m freaking out. @kanyewest ....please take a meeting with me. I tell every single person that everything that I have been inspired to do, was written in your music.— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) April 21, 2018
I am my own biggest fan, because you made it okay. I need you to help wake up the black community. https://t.co/Uz1nB9K0Oz
Kanye West tweets 7 words and leftists rush to smear me as far-right & anti-LGBT. So what terrified them?— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) April 21, 2018
The truth did. The left is losing control of their blacks. Ready to be awakened? Watch the truth about my journey off the plantation w/ @RubinReport. https://t.co/YviWe4PQk0 pic.twitter.com/GcN35gBoIa
“If you look at his history, @kanyewest has represented the battering ram against political correctness. Long before @realDonaldTrump came down the escalator, Kanye West was public enemy #1 for telling the truth” https://t.co/OJJvJGNvon— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) April 22, 2018
Make no mistake. I will fall on the sword a thousand times over for the black community to wake up to what is going on.— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) April 22, 2018
They control your media.
They control your idols.
They control your mind.
Your thoughts and ideas are programmed.
After receiving backlash for his endorsement of Owens, West tweeted about “self victimization.” He also allegedly tweeted, “Hi thought police, you’ve fucked with the wrong free thinker,” and later deleted the tweet. More of his tweets echoed the same sentiments as Owens, arguing that Black people must become free thinkers and “move on” from the past.
People demonize people and then they demonize anybody who sees anything positive in someone whose been demonized— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 22, 2018
we have freedom of speech but not freedom of thought— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 22, 2018
The thought police want to suppress freedom of thought— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 22, 2018
Constantly bringing up the past keeps you stuck there— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 22, 2018
We live in a time where people don’t respect people for being themselves— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 22, 2018
People respect people for following the general trend and consensus— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 22, 2018
there was a time when slavery was the trend and apparently that time is still upon us. But now it's a mentality.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 22, 2018
self victimization is a disease— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 22, 2018
West’s rant earned him favor with conservatives on Twitter. Alt-right conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich and Infowars’ Alex Jones have both defended and retweeted West on Twitter. Actress Roseanne Barr—who’s also received backlash recently for her support of Trump—tweeted about West, as well.
I want to call @kanyewest— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) April 23, 2018
If Kanye’s forthcoming album “Redpill" does not try to rhyme "thought police" and “Tesla lease" I am definitely going to downvote it.— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) April 23, 2018
In a strange turn of events this morning, @kanyewest is tweeting out clips of Dilbert comic creator turned pro-Trump pundit Scott Adams. Kanye has become a conservative media favorite over the weekend. pic.twitter.com/lhr7cXrOKT— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) April 23, 2018
The confusion continued on Monday when reports surfaced that West told radio host Ebro Darden that he loves Trump.
West also shared a series of video clips from a longer video published by Scott Adams—the infamous illustrator who made the Dilbert comic who has become a conservative hero in some circles—in which Adams explains how West’s tweet about Owens freed people from the “prisons of their minds.” Adams’ video is a roundabout explainer for why he believes West could one day become president.
Scott Adams tells you how Kanye showed the way to The Golden Age. With coffee. https://t.co/RCFwKuXjCA— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) April 22, 2018
Overall, however, it doesn’t seem like West is necessarily trying to make a pro-conservative statement with his tweets. Instead, he seems interested in interacting with major thought leaders in the U.S. Before tweeting all of the Adams videos, West also sang praises for Elon Musk and his new Tesla car. Musk reciprocated with a retweet.
I really love my Tesla. I'm in the future. Thank you Elon.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 23, 2018
I'm super chaaaaaarged. Bout to take this whole thing to mars— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 23, 2018
West is infatuated with independence and free-thinking—especially within the Black community—which is a noble cause on the surface. But the trouble lies in the fact that his statements have begun to be co-opted by strange bedfellows who don’t appear to harbor similar motives and goals.
Tess Cagle is a reporter who focuses on politics, lifestyle, and streaming entertainment. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, Damn Joan, and Community Impact Newspaper. She’s also a portrait, events, and live music photographer in Central Texas.