Kanye West jumped into a swirl of controversy on Saturday when he tweeted out a message of support for right-wing YouTube personality Candace Owens.
“I love the way Candace Owens thinks,” he wrote, prompting glee from some conservative commentators and backlash from many of his left-leaning fans and critics.
I love the way Candace Owens thinks— ye (@kanyewest) April 21, 2018
Let me preface this by saying, like who you like. That goes for Kanye and the rest of you. However, two days ago y’all Kanye fans rode in my mentions like Don Quixote when I said I like to be entertained by Ye, but I don’t necessarily look to him as a mentor or leader.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) April 22, 2018
*searches Candace Owens* pic.twitter.com/swHXk3zk7C— jaVe. (@javeauriel) April 21, 2018
Candace Owens has proven to be anti-Black, anti-LGBTQ and fact-hating.— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) April 21, 2018
(Honestly, there are so many more descriptors.)
For Kanye to align himself with her is messy and dangerous.
I'm not surprised Kanye "loves the way Candace Owens thinks," especially after he ran to Trump Tower to genuflect before his king. pic.twitter.com/QESAif5RNX— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) April 21, 2018
Owens, 28, seemed thrilled that West tweeted about her:
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
Owens was subject to immense controversy in 2016 when she attempted to crowdfund a website ostensibly aimed at halting cyberbullying, which critics denounced as an elaborate means of outing and doxing the identities of anonymous internet users. Owens denied that the site would have outed users by name, but the funding effort was ultimately suspended by Kickstarter, and it never got off the ground.
Since then, she’s been named the director of urban engagement for Turning Point USA, a culture war-stoking conservative organization run by Charlie Kirk, and she’s been running her own YouTube channel, which is aimed at making conservative appeals to black viewers. Her videos are heavy on criticism of left-wing activist groups like Black Lives Matter, as well as praise for President Donald Trump.
I truly believe that @realDonaldTrump isn’t just the leader of the free world, but the savior of it as well.— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) April 17, 2018
May God bless America— the last stand for western civilization.
She’s referred to the 71-year-old American president as “the savior of the free world,” and has derided Black Lives Matter protesters as “whiny toddlers” who are “pretending to be oppressed for attention.”
In the latter regard, it shouldn’t be surprising that West would like what Owens has to say―the star rapper and producer has publicly expressed his support for Trump, and he even visited Trump Tower for a photo-op with him during the presidential race in August of 2016. Just days after Trump’s victory, in fact, West told the audience at one of his shows that if he’d voted, he would have voted for Trump.
“I told y’all I didn’t vote, right?” he said. “But if I would’ve voted, I would’ve voted for Trump.”
Kanye just said if he had voted (which he didn't) he would've voted Trump. pic.twitter.com/g2HyFz6KPD— meet me in temecula (@justin_yang) November 18, 2016
West went on to praise Trump’s speaking style and urged the San Jose crowd―which appeared none too thrilled with his political takes―to “stop focusing on racism.”
This is far from the first time West has alienated some of his fans through tweeting controversial statements about politics or culture. Back in early 2016, in the thick of the rapidly escalating flood of sexual assault allegations against comedian Bill Cosby, West tweeted out “BILL COSBY INNOCENT,” drawing scrutiny and criticism.