Kanye West is becoming a thought leader—among far-right Twitter

Kenny Sun/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

https://twitter.com/Cernovich/status/988312502097199105

https://twitter.com/RealAlexJones/status/988453464291323905

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.

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.

https://twitter.com/kanyewest/status/988239755862097921

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

Tess Cagle

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.