Why John Legend Is Kanye West’s Real MVP

Opinion

Chase sent a notification Wednesday (April 26) informing me I have $13.97 in my checking account, so I was unable to invest in the Twitter antics of Kanye West as I was officially broke three days before payday. I wasn’t the kind of broke where I could still buy a light breakfast and a subway sandwich for lunch until Friday. I was the Dear God, please don’t let an automatic payment get debited from my account and put me in the negative, kind of broke, so my priorities were elsewhere.

After accepting where I am financially in life, I logged onto Twitter to see Mr. West profess his love for Donald Trump, and go as far as to call the Racist-in-Chief his “brother.” To make matters worse Kanye—the man who once proudly rapped about his grandfather making his mother participate in the sit-ins—popped up wearing the infamous red and white “Make America Great Again” hat. It was then that I flatlined. My heart stopped pumping and I came to terms with the notion that the ‘Ye that gave us “Blood On The Leaves” has digitally and culturally lynched himself.

However, if there were any silver lining to the car crash Kanye West provided for the world, it was John Legend.  While a few of West’s musical brethrens tried to defend him, Legend skillfully gathered his longtime friend, and in essence told him his wealth and success should not blind him to the truth of the current political and social climate.

The Academy-Award winning musician who has been vocal about his disdain for Trump, as well as his fight for justice reform recognized the privilege he and his friend have. Unlike his friend (because at this point, Legend may be the only one who still claims him), Luna’s father realized there aren’t many people who have that same privilege, especially if they’re people of color.

Because Legend loves and respects Kanye so much, he didn’t sit silently while his friend made outrageous comments. He showed his loyalty through the correction he offered. So many people have conflated the definition of friendship to mean enabling. Legend knows that definition is false.

Legend didn’t use Kanye’s phenomenal discography as an excuse to allow for the foolish tweets to go unchecked. Legend understands that you can disagree with your friends and still love them, but when your friends begin exhibiting harmful behavior or language, someone must be brave enough to step in and have that uncomfortable conversation. Legend’s tweets prove he’s that guy. Simply put: Legend will check you if you need to be checked.

I want to say that Legend isn’t scared of Kanye. I want to say that Legend has created a strong enough lane that if the two were to never speak again, his checks and his family would be fine. Can a few of ‘Ye’s defenders say the same? Do they cape for him out of loyalty to a genius? Or is it out of fear that their next album may get shelved or their feature may go unanswered?

This is a sad time for the culture. Kanye’s beliefs directly fall in line with the opposition, and the opposition wants to oppress people who look like me, him, his late mother, North, Saint and Chicago, not people who look like his wife and mother-in-law.

If this is the new Kanye, I don’t want him. But it did take this new Kanye to prove that John Legend is the kind of friend we should all strive to have and be.