Screengrab via CNN/Twitter

Trump’s team didn’t ask Kanye to perform because he isn’t ‘traditionally American’

What could be more American than Kanye?

 

Kahron Spearman

Streaming

Published Jan 19, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 4:22 am CDT

Kanye West claims that not only would he have voted for President-elect Donald Trump, but also “that his approach was absolutely genius.” The global superstar and burgeoning fashion icon would have been a substantial get for Trump’s inauguration concert on Thursday. Yet Chairman of the Presidential Inauguration Committee Tom Barrack didn’t think so.

“He’s been great, he considers himself a friend of the president-elect, but it’s not the venue,” said Barrack to CNN’s Erin Burnett on Thursday. “It’s going to be typically and traditionally American, and Kanye is a great guy, we just haven’t asked him to perform. And we move on with our agenda.”

Intellectually it’s completely understandable why you wouldn’t have West perform for any inauguration festivities, given how Pepperidge Farms and semi-flat ginger ale Thursday’s concert was. There wasn’t even room for his tour equipment.

Nonetheless West was among the first massive stars put on the Trump cape, and was the first name-brand African-American entertainer to show up at the golden tower. Given the widespread interest enveloping Trump’s inauguration performances—which were plagued by a lack of star power—you’d think Trump would pull his ace in the hole, and shower the great Kanye West with so much money, just so much, it would be just unbelievable.

But “typically and traditionally American” is tough to sell. Intellectually one understands Americana, turkey sandwiches, and dentures. But what is more “typically and traditionally American” than rap music? 

It’s clear the read here was non-confrontation. Perhaps they knew they couldn’t pay West enough, or deal with his notorious onstage petulance. He can’t be controlled live and could very well have snapped back into his pro-Black views, played “New Slaves” or the non-radio version of “All Day,” and created some incredibly embarrassing racialized moment. Trump couldn’t have walked that back. 

Trump was looking for Cowboy Troy and Chrisette Michelle. As the R&B songstress explained, they were “willing to be a bridge.” This is because “typically and traditionally American” apparently means corn dogs, airboats, and acquiescence.

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*First Published: Jan 19, 2017, 8:51 pm CST