open letter to kanye


it’s time i wrote you…

i pay attention to you. i know people laugh at you, or dismiss you…and yet almost all of them are also paying attention to you.

i believe you are making an authentic effort to be unique and honest and creative in this world…but some of the energy you have been putting out in the world of late has made me want to sit you down and have a heart to heart.

first off honey baby – you are not michael jackson. not at all. don’t sully his legacy and throw your own motivations into question by implying you and he are brethren in the struggle.

i hope you don’t want or need to be michael – you are a musical genius, yes. you are a prolific artistic, yes. but you were not a traumatized child star whose capacity to feel confidence in himself and his intimate relations was broken before his voice changed…

what you are is a grown ass man, with lots of resources and lots of people who eagerly await your creations.

i have been thinking for some time, as i struggle to hear your creativity through all the media storms you whip up around yourself, that you take away from your own credibility when you constantly play the victim. i hear more about the media/world’s persecution of you than i do of your gifts, and that’s a shame.

you are actually one of those ambitious, over-the-top people who could be known for your uncompromisingly edge-pushing work instead. force people to deal with liking or not liking you based on your work, not on your scandals and sensitivities.

and now this week, on Today, you stepped back from the single most awesome scandalous thing you have ever done. when you stood there after katrina and spoke the truth, that “george bush doesn’t care about black people”, and you spoke about racist media coverage of those trying to survive in new orleans, it was a powerful and necessary action. you spoke for many of us – i was so proud of you, using your access to millions to speak a truth that wasn’t to benefit yourself.

and you apologized?

it’s not like bush apologized for his appalling non-responsiveness, or has spent these subsequent years helping to get black people back home to nola…i suspect he’s too busy maintaining the myth of WMDs in iraq.

you were right back then kanye…you weren’t maligning a president who had repeatedly enacted policies to support black people’s economic or cultural power. you were stating an informed opinion on a president who vacationed while black people drowned in a city-turned-graveyard. history has not shown a more nuanced motivation of his slow response – in fact it’s made him look worse and worse as information has come out around what he knew and when.

not to mention that if katrina had never happened, this is still the president who led us into a full-blown cultural war with the Arab world.

dream hampton today said that you could have said “george bush doesn’t care about poor people”, and that that may have been more precise. but you were coming from a raw place, you were seeing the media we saw, i felt you – watching the clips again i still feel you.

you have made mistakes, you have things to apologize for, but that was not one of them.

i want to see you succeed. i like your music, i defend your right to sing and auto-tune yourself for the sake of expression, i watched your whole 30 minute multi-music-video and i am excited for your next album.

it’s time you came off defense and went on the offensive. stop talking about how attacked you are and cowering into an apologetic ball of shame – stand up and be a creator, stand up and take on the mantel of being one the most innovative artists of your generation. you can do any thing you want – evolve!

and at the very least, if you still want to engage in silly games with mainstream media who never have and never will understand those who are creating new culture, at LEAST stop apologizing.

especially, while we still have millions of people dying all over the world because of the economic and military decisions of our government, stop apologizing to, and aligning yourself with, george “mass murderer” bush.

with love
adrienne maree

p.s. on a totally unrelated note, cee-lo – if you’re out there, get at me.