It shouldn’t have been such an earth-shattering moment.
Kanye West, a rapper and now presidential candidate, is also a human being. As is Kim Kardashian. As are you.
What Kanye said on twitter was wrong and disrespectful to his wife and children. But it shouldn’t have been much of a surprise; don’t we all, at some point in our lives, say things in anger that are unkind? This aside, Kanye West (and other artists) actions are held to much more scrutiny than mine are and I don’t think it should be that way.
Celebrities are artists, most of the time. Kanye makes music and contributes to fashion in ways most could only dream of. Because of the publicity that comes with it, Kanye and other celebrities find themselves in a whirlpool of fans who worship everything they say, tweet, post, publicize or create, thus propelling them into a frenzy of agents and publicists telling them exactly what to say and how to say it.
Once something is said incorrectly, you could be cancelled. I, for one, would crack under that pressure. Imagine having to hide your opinions, your relationships, your life from the world to avoid becoming a target online. But right now, that’s the price to pay for being an artist or being successful.
Simply being a successful artist does not imply that you are suddenly a perfected human. Kanye West is not and should not be excused for his disrespectful tweets, but, at the same time, cyberbullying is not deserved. As a society, we need to eliminate cancel culture; it is toxic and wrong.
If someone like Kanye is abusing the power we the people have given them, we can take it back without being unkind or malicious. A simple unfollow will suffice.
I encourage my readers to be mindful of what they are putting out into the world. Are the things you’re posting, tweeting, forwarding or creating positive? Are they malicious? Are they coming from a place of anger and hate, or kindness and love? While it is unrealistic for me to expect everyone on the internet to be kind towards each other, I still want a reality where cancel culture doesn’t exist. I want to live in a world where a simple unfollow will do more than a long, entitled rant on social media ever will.
I am optimistic that we can one day live in a world where, when Kanye West rants in malice on Twitter, the only thing that changes is the number of people following him.
Emily White is a junior studying English and broadcast journalism.