Kanye West is a larger-than-life figure, a self-proclaimed god, and according to him, the biggest rockstar on the planet. Whether or not you agree with him is a different story, but the reality is you do have some feeling towards him. More likely than not you either love him or hate him. He's just a polarizing figure in that way. His best friend is the king of hip hop, Jay Z; he is married to Kim Kardashian, who Kanye claims in the most beautiful woman in all of "human existence"; and has been on the bad side of the last two presidents of the United States.
I've been listening to Kanye's music for over 10 years, and have been standing by his side while he's received 21 Grammys -- which puts him sixth on the all-time list for wins. Recently though I've started to support him for much more than his music. He announced signing a deal with Adidas instead of Nike because his new deal offers him royalties; ones that Nike wouldn't give him. Nike refused to offer them citing he isn't a professional athlete, which is a poor justification at best. Adidas is a progressive company in realizing they need to offer celebrities what they deserve, so to support them I bought Adidas clothes today and will continue to support companies who follow suit, as should you.
In the last few months, Kanye has taken a break from not doing interviews, and has started going into the spotlight. Though not all of it has been good, like his outburst on Twitter against Jimmy Kimmel, he has been doing his best to apologize for his mistakes. Coming into the spotlight has not just been for any reason, but because he has new endeavors he needs backing for. He's even gone as far as to ask Eric Schmidt at a concert at Madison Square Garden to invest in his new company, Donda. I was at the concert, and the entire arena was screaming at the top of their lungs in support of Kanye. He realizes how influential he is, and is tired of corporations making a huge profit using his name while snubbing him. Instead he wants to reap those rewards, as any sane person would want to.
While it may be difficult for some to look at celebrities as victims, there's maybe 20 stars a year that are really on top. Most of their careers are short-lived, and are over as quickly as they started. While they are popular these large corporations exploit them for whatever profit they can because understand what these people mean to the general population. Kanye knows that he can't be a rapper in 10 years who's talking about the bottles of champagne he's having in the club, and all he's trying to do is use his relevancy to rightfully get the profit he deserves.
While in Boston for his tour he stopped by the Harvard University's Graduate School of Design to talk about creating because architecture is one of the fields he's looking to get into. He's trying to break ceilings in the architecture world where a majority of architects are Caucasian males, but he says he's not being taken seriously. Some even claim that the reaction to Kanye visiting students at Harvard was racist. The statistics he's citing are correct though, with most architects being highly-educated white males. He wants to use his influence to help minorities, but still he's being laughed at. Minorities in the architecture field even agree with him. Kanye's success in the fashion world will be uplifting to the African American community who can see that they truly can succeed at anything.
Kanye's frustrations are palpable in any interview, and he's going to keep talking until he makes a change. The difference between Kanye and other celebrities is that he's always open to speaking his mind even if it means he'll regret it later. The man truly takes advantage of his First Amendment rights, and for that he deserves respect. He says what no one else is willing to even if everyone else in the room is thinking it.
In his one hour interview on BBC with Zane Lowe, he goes into detail about how he's being blackballed by the fashion industry because he's labeled as "just a rapper," and his frustration with the situation is evident. In his interview with Sway, he described how he has tried going into fashion on his own, but how it was a losing game where he spent $13 million of his own money with no success. He called out Nike for trying to marginalize him, citing that despite seeing his Air Yeezy II's selling for $90,000 they won't take him seriously and give him royalties on new projects. Also, he's taken aim at Louis Vuitton for refusing to even sit down with him despite having designed for them before. This is someone who has helped both of these multinational corporations make large sums of money, but they refuse to even take a meeting with him. Wouldn't you be upset too?
It's time that companies stop taking advantage of celebrities, using their ephemeral iconic status to make as much money as they can while the person is at the peak of their success, and then drop them once it's over. These brands are making money on the names of people such as Kanye West, so if it's their name that's selling then why aren't they being offered more of the pie? Adidas recognized this, and realize that offering royalties to Kanye is just part of a new world where people like him need to be taken more seriously. So for that reason I bought Adidas clothes today, and plan to continue to support their brand. I'll be waiting to offer my support to other brands that do the same, and you should do the same.