Is Kanye West Being Wrongfully Portrayed As A Monster?


VIBE / November 18, 2010

In a flowery open letter to Kanye West last week, Def Jam founder and media mogul Russell Simmons told the oft-embroiled rapper that “brilliance is not a word that can even begin to describe your ability.” Referencing a few of West’s most recent musical achievements, as well as the renewed controversy surrounding his infamous assertion that George Bush “doesn’t care about black people,” Simmons concluded that, ultimately, the kid is all right. “Keep on, Kanye,” wrote Simmons. “We love you.”

The affectionate note got around the Internet quickly, with thousands of West admirers sharing Simmons’ well-wishing on Facebook, and thousands more spreading it around Twitter. “Thank you, Russell, for speaking the truth about Kanye,” one commenter wrote beneath the letter. “I love you both.”

No doubt Simmons’ message was prompted by the fact that West has been in the news a lot lately. After George W. Bush revealed in his new book that West’s branding of him as a racist was one of the lowest points of his time in office, the former president then elaborated on the NBC Today show. 

In response, West requested his own Today appearance, during which he apologized for his accusations against Dubya but then sparred with Matt Lauer about using embarrassing B-roll footage during the interview. After the taping, West promptly took to his Twitter account and declared that he’d been “set up” by Lauer. He then canceled plans to perform on Today later this month.

Paradoxically, erratic behavior has become a constant for Kanye West. His temper tantrums are the stuff of legend, occasionally prompted by the suspicion that people “won’t give a black man a chance.” More than once, he’s proved that no event is too grand for him to bum-rush the stage and demand to be heard — and when the attention he demands sometimes becomes too much, West has violently attacked paparazzi. He has a tendency to go into hiding in remote locations. And as he exhibited on Today last week, even minor perceived slights can set West on edge. That all in mind, perhaps it’s no wonder the rapper’s media trainer quit on him this week.

Read the rest of the article at The Root.