THE BLOG
10/08/2013 09:48 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Kanye and the Flashing Lights

When did photographers devolve into paparazzi? What once was such a respectable profession, and vital aspect of pop culture has snowballed into something spiteful, malicious, and just plain ugly. Even someone as popular as Kanye West, who for almost a decade has been public enemy #1 amongst the picture taking parasites deserves a certain level of privacy.

Publicity is needed for a celebrity in any field to be successful. However, they're still people and that entitles them to maintain some sort of confidentiality regarding their personal life. Waiting outside airports or studios is fine, but showing up at Kanye's home at 4 a.m. in an attempt to snap an unflattering photo is deplorable. Where's the decency? Does the fact that you're a musician mean you sacrifice your basic human rights?

The dynamic of the entire system is flawed. There's no way someone should be able to take a picture of you against your will, then sell it to a publication without you even seeing the slightest form of compensation. There should be limitations on when and where pictures can be taken, and a portion of the money received by the photographer should also be paid to the person featured in the photo. The entertainment industry is based on images and branding, anytime someone's likeness is used to turn a profit said person is entitled to a percentage. With public perception being such a determining factor for a musician's success how is it even legal for photographers to operate in such a manner?

Kanye's been sued multiple times by paparazzi claiming he assaulted them or destroyed their property during confrontations they themselves initiated. How ridiculous is it to press charges against someone after antagonizing them so deliberately? Princess Diana was killed by an overzealous paparazzo in a car chase on a civilian highway. A tragedy of such magnitude should've sparked a change over a decade ago, but their reckless pursuit of incriminating photos continues to jeopardize the safety of not only celebs but civilians to this day.

Photojournalism is a necessary evil. Celebrities need it to be successful, and society needs it to quench their insatiable thirst for pop culture. Kanye mentioned in a recent interview with Zane Lowe that he's working towards adding some type of regulation to help this flawed system. Hoping that by the time his new born daughter is old enough to grasp the concept of paparazzi taking her pictures she can also receive compensation for them. Is Yeezus capable of performing such miracles? Only time will tell, but if things do stay the same it'll truely be an injustice for us all.

Subscribe to the Black Voices email.
Stay plugged in with the stories on black life and culture.