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Rapper says anger over his views reminds him of racial assumptions he once faced: Youre black, so youre a Democrat

Kanye West has reaffirmed his support for Donald Trump, whom he has previously called his brother, in a new interview with the Wall Street Journal.

West says people make assumptions about his political views because of his race, automatically assuming he would disagree with Trumps views.

West also compares the pushback he faces for publicly wearing his Make America Great Again hat to racial profiling and discrimination. It reminded me of how I felt as a black guy before I was famous, when I would walk in a restaurant and people would look at you like you were going to steal something, the musician says. This is your place, Ye, dont talk about apparel. This is your place, Ye, youre black, so youre a Democrat.

Wests praise of Trump comes as medical experts, health officials, and growing numbers of unemployed workers criticize the presidents response to the growing coronavirus pandemic.

The rapper was previously known for publicly attacking the inadequate federal response to a national crisis. In 2005, he delivered the memorable line George Bush doesnt care about black people during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when a ravaged New Orleans had yet to receive substantial federal assistance.

The past few days have been turbulent for West and his reality-star wife, Kim Kardashian West. Over the weekend, the internet entered a frenzy over new leaked footage of a controversial phone call between West and Taylor Swift. To some, the extended clip, recorded around 2015, provided proof that West had lied about asking Swift for permission to call her a bitch in a song lyric and intentionally set out to disparage her public image. Kardashian West spoke out against the renewed accusations, writing that Swift was actually lying.

In the interview, West also reveals that he worked closely with Trump and the White House adviser Jared Kushner to help free the rapper A$AP Rocky, who was detained by the Swedish government for aggravated assault charges last summer.

Trump tweeted about the case following discussions with West, suggesting the rapper had a major influence on his diplomatic decision. Just spoke to @KanyeWest about his friend A$AP Rockys incarceration. I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky, Trump said at the time.

West has previously faced blowback for praising Candace Owens, a conservative black activist, and suggesting slavery was a choice. (West later apologized for the slavery comments.)

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The singers dispute with the new owner of Big Machine Records over her first six albums challenges who owns what in the industry

Taylor Swifts catalogue is littered with tales of the men who did her wrong. Teardrops on My Guitar, All Too Well, Dear John the 29-year-old singer is used to being let down by the patriarchy. Somehow she always manages to shake it off. This time was no different.

On Sunday, Swift will receive the artist of the decade award at the American Music awards (AMAs) at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. For a few days it seemed like she would not be able to play her older hits, caught in a contractual dispute with her former record label.

It was the kind of argument usually resolved behind closed doors by sober-suited lawyers boringly parsing contract and copyright law. Instead, #IStandWithTaylor became a trending topic on Twitter worldwide and Swift once again proved corporate America is no match for her talents. She may also, and not for the first time, have reshaped the music world challenging who owns what in an industry still reeling from its transition to digital.

This is stuff that never leaks out to the public, said James Sammataro, a partner at law firm Pryor Cashman and one of the USs top music lawyers. Contentious negotiations are nothing new in the music industry, he said. But this is like negotiation in the Instagram age. Taylor is directing it. She is forcing this chess game to be played in public.

The chess game involves control of Swifts first six albums, put out by Big Machine Records, an independent Nashville-based music company that is home to artists including Sheryl Crow, Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts. Big Machines founder, Scott Borchetta, signed Swift when she was just 15 after discovering her performing in a cafe and helped guide her from country newcomer to global pop phenomenon. Swift has said she thought Borchetta regarded her as the daughter he never had.

Then, in 2019, Borchetta sold Big Machine for a reported $300m to Ithaca Holdings, a mini-conglomerate of media and tech companies owned by celebrity talent manager Scooter Braun, a man Swift considers a mortal enemy. Braun, who currently works with Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, among numerous other entertainers, previously worked with Kanye West, whose infamous hijacking of her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music awards has led to a decade-long feud.

Swift has accused Braun of bullying her and called the deal my worst case scenario. This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term loyalty is clearly just a contractual concept. And when that man says Music has value, he means its value is beholden to men who had no part in creating it, she wrote on Tumblr. Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words Scooter Braun escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to.

As is standard practice in the music industry Swifts masters the first recordings from which all the later copies are made stayed with Big Machine and are the main driver behind the deal. According to Variety, Swifts catalogue accounted for 80% of Big Machines revenues, although it is now believed to be closer to 50%.

Swift controls the copyright, which should mean she is free to perform her songs as she pleases. Which brings us to the latest dilemma. Swift who is now signed to Universal Music has said she will re-record her old albums starting next year, offering fans a way to buy her music again on her terms after her deal with Big Machine expires.

According to Swift, Borchetta and Braun had told her she could not perform the works they currently own at the AMAs unless she dropped that plan. On top of that, Swift said the pair had told her she would not be allowed to use her old work in an upcoming Netflix documentary.

Scott Borchetta told my team that theyll allow me to use my music only if I do these things: If I agree not to re-record copycat versions of my songs next year (which is something Im legally allowed to do and looking forward to) and also told me that I need to stop talking about him and Scooter Braun, Swift wrote on social media. The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or youll be punished.

Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13)

Dont know what else to do

November 14, 2019

All this and more was shared with Swifts 85 million-plus Twitter followers and made headlines around the world. Swift even called on Carlyle Group, one the worlds biggest and most powerful private equity firms and a minority investor in Ithaca, to help her out. Not the sort of public row this highly political firm, advised by former presidents and prime ministers, is used to.

Weighed down by the torrent of publicity and death threats, Braun and Borchetta denied gagging Swift and stated she was free to perform at the AMAs. Their initial statement, however, carefully skirted around admitting, or denying, whether they had stipulated she could not perform her old songs or mentioning the Netflix documentary. Big Machine and Ithaca did not return calls for comment.

Bad blood: Scooter Braun and Taylor Swift. Photograph: Getty Images

For Sammataro, the AMA kerfuffle was a sideshow and legally Swift would have had a good case for playing her songs. The argument hides a bigger story, he said, one that may have a profound impact on artists in the years ahead. People bluster and make demands for rights that they dont always have, he said. I do think they have a very genuine concern about the re-recording of her masters.

Historically music companies have restricted artists for a length of time typically five years from re-recording their works. It sounds sinister but its really not. Its a commonsense provision in that if I am investing money into your album, I need sufficient time to recoup my investment, said Sammataro.

Swift is not the first to threaten to re-record her works. Prince and Def Leppard did so after arguing they were being unfairly compensated by their original labels. But it is unheard of move for an artists at her zenith. You are essentially splitting dollars, said Sammataro. You dont know how the streaming service, the radio station or even your fans are going to consume it. Will they listen to the master or the re-recorded version?

In the past artists might not have taken this route because marketing and distributing the new versions themselves would have been prohibitively expensive. In the digital age, and with her fanbase, no such issues will hold Swift back. Re-recording a couple of hits might once have satisfied Swift but with relations so strained she may feel like dealing Big Machine a bigger blow.

It is not the first time that Swift has taken on the industry and won. Swift was one of the last artists to sign on to streaming services because she was still selling CDs. She forced Apple to pay artists for music played during users three-month free trial period and held her album Reputation off streaming services for three weeks to maximise physical sales and downloads. The Economist wondered whether she might be pop musics Alexander the Great.

For Swift this latest dispute is clearly an issue of principle, but it is also a play for leverage as both sides wrestle with the tectonic shifts in the music market: the shift to digital and the arrival of ever more money in the music industry from private equity investors such as Carlyle.

Carlyle and groups like it are investing in music because they see long-term returns from owning catalogues like Swifts and more widely from our continuing love of music. TPG Capital is an investor in Spotify, Blackstone owns Sesac Holdings and the Harry Fox Agency, two groups that disburse royalties. Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala has a stake in EMI Music. Swifts tweet specifically asked for help from The Carlyle Group, who put up money for the sale of my music to these two men. Following the message the companys Twitter account and phone lines were inundated by Swift fans pressing them to intervene.

The shot across Carlyles bow will add pressure to negotiations if and when the two sides start discussing the Netflix deal and Swifts re-recordings. Longer-term the idea that artists like Swift will seize control of their works may rattle those investors even more. Sammataro said he expected the masters contracts of major artists once pretty boilerplate will now be much more carefully lawyered.

Swift may have won this round but there will be more battles ahead. On Sunday she is expected to address the controversy head on. Swift is planning a fierce show of female artistic strength and empowerment, music industry sources told the New York Post.

Her friends are all going to be pushing her message on the red carpet. Taylors going to play dirty with elegance and grace, the source said. Whatever she plays, she will be playing to win.

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Leading a creative revolution whose ripples were seen from Kanye to Donald Glover to Little Simz, Beyonc consigned the idea of performers sticking to the music to history

By now, its a cliche. You have as many hours in a day as Beyonc, the saying goes. You can find its words slapped on mugs, T-shirts and Instagram quotes or murmured into the bathroom mirror as a bleary-eyed morning affirmation. The backlash (largely led by white women) to this tongue-in-cheek attempt at self-motivation has already pointed out its blind spots around class. Of course, you, regular human with looming mounds of debt and bills, cant maximise your time like a pop star with entire creative and personal teams to eliminate her drudgery. Thats obvious.

But the sentiment that Beyonc would, at one point, have been a nobody just like you, with as much time to work with still holds true. Like her or not, she leveraged a childhood work ethic into a career that spreads beyond her role as a performer. Yes, Beyonc is a singer. Yes, she often co-writes. In addition, she is also an all-round entertainment mogul, directing documentaries and music visuals, executive-producing film soundtracks and commanding a wider, ephemeral level of cultural influence not to mention moving into fashion.

She isnt alone. Over the past decade, black labour in music has produced a new understanding of musicians as curators a word that neatly describes the ways black artistry has evolved with the times. As music has become more visual and omnipresent, weaving itself into ads, apps and other art forms, the most impactful acts of the 2010s have found ways to integrate those outlets into their own output: theyve become industries unto themselves. Music may be their anchor, but for everyone from Rihanna to Janelle Mone to Kanye West, its just one part of their contribution to culture. Working within the framework of an exploitative industry, these black musicians have created a space that allows for at least a semblance of autonomy.

Her work functions like a mirror held up to black women … Janelle Mone performing in October. Photograph: Chelsea Lauren/WWD/Rex/Shutterstock

In January 2010, Beyonc announced a hiatus. She retired her Sasha Fierce alter ego and didnt release new recorded material until the following year. (For Beyonc, a hiatus only lasts 18 months.) It marked the first time she had put an explicit homage to soul, classic R&B and more ambitious arrangements ahead of profit. Shed never sounded blacker.

She also retired her father, Matthew Knowles, as her manager and took on that responsibility herself, via her company Parkwood Entertainment. When I decided to manage myself, it was important that I didnt go to some big management company, she said in 2013. I felt like I wanted to follow the footsteps of Madonna, and be a powerhouse and have my own empire and show other women when you get to this point in your career, you dont have to go sign with someone else and share your money and your success you do it yourself.

You can almost follow a direct line from this moment to her current work, which is increasingly pro-black, self-examining and intimate. Her quest for self-affirmation played out publicly when she came forward in 2015 as one of the artist-owners of streaming service Tidal, along with husband Jay-Z and just about every A-list musician around at the time. With more economic freedom came the ability to do as she pleases: that much was obvious from her heavily autobiographical self-titled album, surprise-released in 2013, then Lemonade in 2016.

This transition reverberates in the work of peers whove followed in her wake. On opposite sides of the pond, London rapper Little Simz and Afro-futuristic artist Janelle Mone embody the importance of owning the means of production. Simz self-released her first mixtape in 2010, aged 16, on label Age 101 a place for her and the rest of her Space Age rap collective to share their work. By 2013, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar had taken notice. Since then, Simz has branched off into comics, curated a genre-hopping festival Welcome to Wonderland: The Experience and returned to acting (see her now in the Netflix revival of Top Boy). Shes navigated the industry as both an eternal outsider and one of Britains most talented rappers, which seemed to frustrate her at first. The business caught up eventually a Mercury shortlisting here, some Radio 1 airplay there though these days she appears less bothered about external validation, perhaps having realised that the industry needs her more than vice versa.

Rihanna scaled unprecedented levels by becoming the first black woman to head up a luxury fashion brand. Photograph: Caroline McCredie/Getty Images for Fenty Beauty by Rihanna

Mone, meanwhile, co-founded the Wondaland Arts Society which is a film and TV production company, a record label and an organising core for activism in Atlanta. When she moved there from Kansas City in 2001, her art-pop sound and left-field approach soon piqued the interest of Outkasts Big Boi. He introduced her to fellow polymath Sean Combs, who signed her in 2006. As a producer, social justice activist and actor (Moonlight, Hidden Figures) she chooses to uplift black people while acknowledging our complexities. Her 2018 album Dirty Computer confronted questions of gender, sensuality and desire; she can model in a Cover Girl campaign, lead a Black Lives Matter march and be CEO of a record label all roles that show dark-skinned black women theyre more than a worn-out stereotype. Her work functions like a mirror held up to black women, offering them representation in ways that white gatekeepers wouldnt instinctively understand.

This decade, I watched black musicians defy other traditional gatekeepers in the hard-to-crack world of fashion. Like Beyonc, Rihanna entered music as a teen, signing to Def Jam at 17. Now, shes scaled unprecedented levels by becoming the first black woman to head up a luxury fashion brand, with Fenty in partnership with French company LVMH. At the start of the decade, few would have seen her evolution coming. During her Loud era, all shrill EDM production and flame-red hair, she felt easy to dismiss as a pop-machine puppet, singing words written by other people. Now shes a savvy businesswoman, equally at home with music as with philanthropy, acting, design and beauty. Her line Fenty Beauty has shaken the cosmetics industry to its core, forcing a diversity of makeup shades into the market as her competitors scramble to react a sign of what will become a norm. Her Savage x Fenty line does the same for lingerie, essentially ringing the death knell for the Victorias Secret catwalk show by employing a diverse cast of models, as she did at New York fashion week in September.

This matters on two levels. Rihannas success in fashion and beauty moves her away from seeming like a product that belongs to her record label. She becomes a person and force of her own Fenty, after all, is her real-life surname. And by steering all these seemingly disparate parts into one brand, she is creating a new set of norms for black art. Plenty of her peers have seen how investing in and executing a broader vision can support, rather than distract from, their music. Consider the likes of Tyler, the Creator, Solange, Kanye West, Dev Hynes, Frank Ocean and Donald Glover, and you realise how their multifaceted work shaped some of the most important western pop culture of the decade.

Our notions of what counts as black art no longer need to be defined by the global norths white mainstream. Since the 80s, black genres from hip-hop and house to R&B have led countercultures. But those genres used to be put into neat boxes black culture, to be consumed in specific ways and places, without needing to care about the experiences behind the work. Now, black music soundtracks global teendom. Now, Kanye West can endure being laughed out of fashion circles before turning Yeezy into a billion-dollar company. West brought a certain kind of self-conscious tastefulness to his work as a designer, continuing to kick back against convention just as he had as a middle-class art-school kid during his mid-2000s backpack-rap era. (Hardly the usual thug life backstory easier to sell to white consumers.) Glover, meanwhile, can rap (and sing) as Childish Gambino, and also create and executive produce a TV show as lush as Atlanta. Solange can create performance art, with installations for New Yorks Guggenheim and LAs Hammer Museum and Londons Tate Modern. Once you realise youre more than a preconceived notion of a black artist, or of black industry, entire worlds open up.

These polymaths show that you can eschew one neat categorisation and do so on your own terms … Donald Glover as Earn in Atlanta. Photograph: FX Productions

These musicians stories are aligned in a quest for true independence. Such a thing cant exist within the parameters of a business designed for profit historically, recording contracts let labels exploit artists. Yet this type of multifaceted black labour rebukes the idea that youre only worth the figure on your first contract. Frank Oceans Endless album/livestream, a quick way out of his Def Jam contract before he released Blonde, brought these delicate chess moves to life. One of the most boring critiques of Beyonc is that shes just a cog in a corporate machine. But the fact that any of these artists turn their talent into products doesnt negate their overall value.

Black children are always taught that we have to work twice as hard to gain half as much recognition. These displays of black labour, of a relentless drive to excel in various ways and a refusal to be defined by one skill, push that adage to an extreme. These polymaths show that you can eschew one neat categorisation and do so on your own terms. Black American fans of Beyonc would have recognised the cultural references others missed in Homecoming, her 2018 Coachella festival performance, an ode to historically black American universities. Later, it was turned into a Netflix special produced by you guessed it Parkwood Entertainment. The decade in Beyonc drew to a close with her executive-producing 2019s pan-African Lion King reboot soundtrack, The Gift, in addition to voicing Nala in the film.

The idea of performers just sticking to the music is all but dead. In the next decade, it may well become the norm for black artists to explore other creative avenues without being mocked or cut down. As pop music shifts away from English as lingua franca, new global acts could begin to dominate in spaces previously only held by this crop of multitalented public figures.

Seen at a glance, they can inadvertently make hard work appear effortless, and as though youre failing if youre not squeezing as much productivity out of every day as Beyonc. But that misses the point. These artists have poured buckets of themselves into these accomplishments, and have done so while working in an industry still mired in institutional racism, sexism and one that treats duty of care as an afterthought. They made the choice to seek self-determination sometimes at a high cost. What you do with your 24 hours is up to you.

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Like other black conservatives, the rapper and designer downplays racism while promoting bootstrap virtue-signaling

Kanye Wests middle name, Omari, means God is highest. So it is fitting that the producer-rapper-designer has found himself spreading the gospel. While touring the country promoting his new album Jesus is King, West has professed commitment to his faith in what appears to be both a promotional and redemption tour. This weekend West will appear at the megachurch of the prosperity pastor Joel Osteen, who was caught in controversy for reportedly waiting days to open his church doors to Hurricane Harvey victims.

Over the decades of Kanye Wests career, the multi-hyphenate artist has been many things. It was perhaps inevitable that this would create some contradictions. Recently, on Jimmy Kimmel Live, West lectured a Gucci-wearing black lottery winner about the importance of eschewing luxury consumer goods even though West purchased his eldest daughter a $62,000 tiara when she was barely a year old.

While signifying black cultural and religious traditions his album is peppered with samples of black church staples like James Clevelands God Is West advances the gospel of white evangelicals. Although he has challenged conventions in nearly every aspect of his artistic life, Kanye West has been born again as a conservative.

Its easy to descend into overwrought analysis about Kanye Wests tortured genius. But perhaps the simplest way to understand Kanyes otherwise incoherent ideology is to remember that hes a rich man acting as a rich man does. His endeavors, including his path to salvation, are thus colored by his station in life. Jesus is King is a testimony, and a believably earnest one, about having gone through emotional depths and leaning on a higher spirit to come out on the other side. Having emerged relatively intact, West embraced the teachings of free market liberalism, not black liberation theology. While he may not fully preach the prosperity gospel, his brand of Christianity centering on personal salvation and individual triumphs, rather than communal uplift suggests hes at least a prosperity parishioner.

Like other black conservatives, West downplays systemic racism while promoting bootstrap virtue-signaling. His dad was a Black Panther and mom a participant in civil rights sit-ins, as he is prone to tell interviewers. But, he alleges, they looked past racism. Like Condoleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas referencing their black, southern roots, West wants to maintain some legitimacy in a community that he also wants to divorce. Hes a product of good old-fashioned hard work, he believes, and afforded the liberty to wear a Maga hat without scrutiny. This is not the liberation espoused by Moses or Harriet or Fred Hampton, but the personal freedom of white Nimbys and states-righters.

Viewed that way, it begins to make sense how Kanye could so flippantly claim slavery was a choice. This rhetoric is typical to the conservative framing of healthcare, housing, education and any other social service they assert should be unfettered by big government. This language is seductive, and it at least partly explains how 14% of black men who went to the polls in 2016 voted for Donald Trump. If the American right wing were not so tinged with white supremacy, it would likely attract even more. The demands of black men in a patriarchal society that both expects their leadership and extracts their resources can make any charlatan preaching about prosperity seem like a prophet.

The reality of black economic subjugation also means that black communities have created their own versions of the self-help paradigm, and it possibly shaped Kanyes worldview. Tenets of self-determination doing for self, and not relying on handouts from The Man are prevalent everywhere from the Nation of Islam to the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense to the New Afrikan Peoples Organization. But unlike the Reagan-era trickle-down bastardization of self-determination, doing for self was also paired with doing for each other.

It is through this self-help and communal-help prong of the black power movement that black liberation theology emerged in the midwest, including in Kanye Wests own hometown of Chicago. It grounded the teachings of Chicagos Jeremiah Wright, Detroits Albert Cleage, and Northwestern-trained James Cone. But these theologians were not millionaires arguing with Forbes about adding the adequate number of zeros in their net worth. Despite the trove of black church traditions West could pull from, he went in the opposite direction, associating with the Trumps and Osteens of the world. Aligning with power over people is merely Kanye doing what a rich man does.

While making remarks reminiscent of Bill Cosbys infamous pound cake speech, West descended into stream of consciousness ramblings with a Fast Company interviewer last month; he lambasted black people for wanting Popeyes chicken sandwiches and voting for the Democratic party. True to Kanyes trademark contradictions, he dedicated an entire track on Jesus is King to Chick-fil-A, the fried chicken sandwich maker owned by homophobic, evangelical Christians.

While Jesus may save Kanye West, black capitalism wont save the rest of us, no matter how many gospel samples accompany the self-serving proselytizing.

  • Malaika Jabali is a public policy attorney, writer and activist whose writing has appeared in Essence, Jacobin, the Intercept, Glamour and elsewhere

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Nikes famous Moon Shoe and limited-edition trainers produced by Kanye West, Air Jordan and Adidas will be sold

Sothebys in New York has announced its first-ever auction dedicated to sneakers.

The auction house will sell 100 pairs of the rarest sneakers ever produced, including a sample of one of the first Nike running shoes with a pre-sale high estimate of $160,000.

The Nike Moon Shoe is one of only 12 pairs created. It was designed by Nike co-founder and track coach Bill Bowerman for runners at the 1972 Olympics trials and the pair up for auction is handmade, according to streetwear marketplace Stadium Goods, which is teaming up with Sothebys for the event.

Other sneakers include 2011 and 2016 versions of the Back to the Future Part II limited-edition shoes by Nike that were inspired by the 1989 film starring Michael J Fox.

The 2016 version of the futuristic shoe, complete with self-lacing technology, is expected to sell for between $50,000 and $70,000.

The Nike Mags sneaker, the design worn by Marty McFly character in Back to the Future Part II and one of only 1,500 pairs made Photograph: HANDOUT/Reuters

Weve long talked about how sneakers are this generations luxury fashion, and being able to collaborate with a brand with the history and esteem of Sothebys is further proof of that, John McPheters, co-founder of New York-based Stadium Goods, said in a statement.

Other shoes in the online sale, beginning on Thursday and ending on 23 July, include sought-after and limited-edition sneakers produced by Adidas, Air Jordan and rapper Kanye Wests Yeezy collection.

Noah Wunsch, global head of eCommerce at Sothebys, said the sneaker sale was bringing together art, culture and fashion and marked another step in the auction houses expansion of offerings of highly coveted luxury goods.

The highest price fetched at public auction for sneakers is thought to be $190,373 in 2017 for a pair of signed Converse shoes said to have been worn by Michael Jordan in the 1984 Olympic basketball final. The shoes were auctioned through California sports memorabilia company SCP.

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Hes just the latest in a long line of minorities who have stood against their community, says novelist Nadifa Mohamed

Last week rapper Kanye West met President Trump at the White House in what must be one of the most bizarre meetings in Oval Office history. Wearing his infamous, Chinese-made, Make America Great Again baseball cap, West regaled an unusually silent Donald Trump with his thoughts on masculinity, hydrogen-powered planes and the Democratic party.

In May, in another logorrhoeic display, West opined that slavery was a choice a result of mental imprisonment and more recently expressed a desire to see the repeal of the 13th amendment to the US constitution, which abolished slavery. Wests continued praise for Trump, a man who once referred to white supremacists as very fine people, has led to widespread condemnation and the accusation (from fellow rapper Snoop Dogg, among others), that West is nothing but an Uncle Tom.

The central character of Harriet Beecher Stowes Uncle Toms Cabin is as different to Kanye West as its possible to be: impoverished, enslaved, a Christian martyr. However, the figure of the Uncle Tom has long migrated away from that archetypal hero of the abolitionist movement. From the moment he was contrasted with the radical New Negro of the 1910s, the Uncle Tom was seen as the insider who loved the massa and put the slavemasters interests above his own people. Powerfully portrayed by Samuel L Jackson in the otherwise dismal Django Unchained, the Uncle Tom at his worst is an informer, a co-conspirator, or an instigator and apologist for white violence.

There is something of the orphaned child about him; desperate for love and care, wherever it may come from. There is the air of the orphaned child about Kanye West, too. Since the death of his mother he appears unmoored, lost in the fantasy land that his Kardashian in-laws live within in Los Angeles; he is hurt that, on return to his hometown of Chicago, Drakes tracks are played more on the radio than his own. West demands that his support of Trump be perceived as an act of independent thought, his escape from the prison of Democratic party support (that binds most African Americans); as brave as Nat Turner and Harriet Tubmans flight from chattel slavery.

The diagnosis of bipolar disorder floats above Wests MAGA cap (he said last week that he was misdiagnosed), and it is impossible to tell whether his controversial statements stem from manic episodes, or a carefully contrived strategy to stay in the headlines; his flirtation with Trump possibly as manipulated as his wife Kims nude photos.

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The most bizarre moments from Trump and Kanye’s meeting at the Oval Office video

Meanwhile in the UK, the Conservative candidate for London mayor, Shaun Bailey, has been condemned on social media as an Uncle Tom after his past statements resurfaced regarding the danger of Britain becoming a crime-riddled cesspool if Muslim and Hindu festivals are accommodated.

Over the years many ethnic minority Conservatives have been disparaged as Uncle Toms and native informers a term for those who worked with colonial authorities and there is a strong sense of betrayal when black or Asian people seem to turn their backs on the communities they have left. However, it has to be unreasonable to assume that all members of minority groups have identical economic or political interests, especially in Britain, where neither the Labour nor the Conservative party have been innocent of using race and racism to garner votes.

In Baileys case, though, there is a problem in a prospective black mayor of London regurgitating the unsubstantiated, prejudiced views of the far right.

The weaponisation of black or Muslim voices to amplify and justify the views of illiberal forces is a growing global phenomenon. In Sweden, the former Muslim Mona Walter condemned the election of fellow Somali migrant Laila Ali Elmi, claiming it to be the first step in the (wholly farcical) Muslim takeover of the country.

In the United States, the renowned anti-Islam campaigner, Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, has long been celebrated by the hard right (she has worked for the neocon American Enterprise Institute). In her autobiography, Infidel, a picture is painted of a Somali and Muslim world so oppressive to women that the only rational response is to reject it and flee from it. Yet she conveniently sidestepped her former feminist convictions to support Brett Kavanaughs nomination to the US supreme court. At a time when sexual equality is under siege, all voices should be heard and all experiences added to our understanding of the societies we live in; yet I cannot help but feel that a lucky few are insensible to the pain of the many.

The reach of Hirsi Alis views, most of them dependent on her privileged position as a former insider within the Muslim world, is startling, and can only be understood in the context of how her extreme statements accord with mainstream anxieties and prejudices. It also relates to the marginalisation of the people she speaks about, who have few high-profile voices.

While I do not believe it serves society to denounce as an Uncle Tom those we perceive as misguided or dangerous, we do have to be vigilant against the utilisation of a few satisfied individuals to justify the disenfranchisement of a large, poorly represented group. And maybe we shouldnt act so surprised that Kanye West sees himself better represented by a billionaire celebrity, like himself, than anyone else.

Nadifa Mohamed is a British-Somali novelist

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President hosted working lunch with West and ex-NFL star Jim Brown to discuss criminal justice system and prison reform

There was cursing, there was a hug, there was a weird monologue that felt like it would never end. Donald Trump and rapper Kanye West displayed their celebrity bromance on Thursday in the strangest White House collision between politics and music since Richard Nixon hosted Elvis.

Rolling Stones website described it as simply: The Craziest Oval Office Performance of All Time.

West, 41, carved out his own niche in history by publicly uttering the word motherfucker in the office of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. He referred to infinite amounts of universe and alternative universe. He talked about how he had been misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder when in fact he was just sleep-deprived.

Ostensibly invited to the White House to discuss prison reform, West wore a red Make America Great Again cap as he sat across from the president at the Resolute Desk, surrounded by reporters and photographers. Trump, whose African American supporters are few and far between, boasted: Kanyes been a friend of mine for a long time.

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West launched into an impassioned, zigzagging stream of consciousness that skipped through race relations, tax breaks, criminal justice and mental health, including the most peculiar justification yet of why he supports the president.

My dad and my mom separated, so there was not a lot of male energy in my home, and also Im married to a family that, you know, not a lot of male energy, going on its beautiful though, he said. I love Hillary, I love everyone, right, but the campaign Im With Her just didnt make me feel, as a guy that didnt get to see my dad all the time, like a guy that could play catch with his son.

It was something about when I put this hat on, it made me feel like Superman. You made a Superman. Thats my favorite superhero. You made a Superman cape for me.

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The most bizarre moments from Trump and Kanye’s meeting at the Oval Office video

The rendezvous came less than two weeks after West made a public display of support for the president on the TV variety show Saturday Night Live. West took a swipe at the criticism he has received from many in the entertainment industry as a result.

Rising to his feet with phone in hand as cameras clicked and Trump looked on, he ranted: What I need Saturday Night Live to improve on and what I need the liberals to improve on is, if he dont look good, we dont look good. This is our president. He has to be the freshest, the flyest, the flyest planes, the best factories.

To that end, he made the surprise proposal of a hydrogen-powered replacement for Air Force One called the iPlane 1.

When West was finally spent, Trump said: I tell you what, that was pretty impressive, folks. There was laughter in the room. That was quite something.

A TV journalist asked about Trumps racial divisiveness. West veered off to attack liberals then challenged the reporter: I dont answer questions in simple soundbites. You are tasting a fine wine that has multiple notes to it. Youd better play 4D chess with me like its Minority Report because it aint that simple. Its complex.

Trump, arms folded, grinned broadly. Asked if he would like West to speak at one of his campaign rallies, he replied: He can speak for me any time he wants. Hes a smart cookie. He gets it.

Is West a future presidential candidate? Trump replied: Could very well be.

The rapper interjected: Only after 2024. Lets stop worrying about the future. All we really have is today. We just have today Trump is on his heros journey right now and he might not have expected to have a crazy motherfucker like Kanye West run up and support but, best believe, we are going to make America great.

Then Trump, who did not appear to mind playing second fiddle for once, had a question for West. How does it feel to be in the Oval Office. The rapper replied that it was good energy.

Towards the end of the odd encounter, West rose from his chair, came around the desk and side-hugged Trump. I love this guy, right here, let me give this guy a hug right here, he said. Trump gripped his hand and smiled.

Former professional football player Jim Brown, another Trump supporter, was also in attendance, along with Jared Kushner, the presidents son-in-law and senior adviser who has focused on prison reform, and his wife, Ivanka Trump.

Hogan Gidley, White House deputy press secretary, said the president would host a working lunch in the private dining room off the Oval Office with West and Brown.

Over a lunch of caprese salad and roast chicken, Gidley said discussion would be centred on President Trumps historic work to benefit all Americans.

In June, Trump commuted the life sentence of a woman for a first-time drug offense whose cause was taken up by Wests wife, Kim Kardashian West. Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old from Tennessee, had served more than 20 years in prison on drug conspiracy and money-laundering charges.

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Winners collected awards in the shape of sex toys at the ceremony for the pornography streaming giant

Winners at the inaugural awards ceremony of the pornography streaming giant Pornhub accepted giant trophies in the shape of dildos, in one instance from a naked presenter, at the behest of its co-creative director Kanye West.

The ceremony, held at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, was set in the year 6918 and saw performers collect custom phallic statuettes for categories including top female solo performer and top fetish performer. Kanye has designed a bespoke erotica-inspired award statue for each of tonights unique categories, stated a press release.

West and his creative company DONDA designed the show in collaboration with longtime associate Willo Perron, who has also served as creative director to artists including Jay-Z, St Vincent and the xx.

Wests fashion label Yeezy dressed the presenters, who appeared on a set surrounded by large video screens featuring works by the transgressive American erotic film-maker Richard Kern. The ceremony was streamed in virtual reality on Pornhub and Wests site.

West performed at the event along with Teyana Taylor, an R&B artist signed to his GOOD Music label, Young MA, Blackbear and Dana Dentata. He also premiered a music video directed by Spike Jonze for a new song called I Love It featuring the rapper Lil Pump. The ceremony was hosted by adult film star Asa Akira.

Pornhub granted West a lifetime of free premium membership after he mentioned the site on a recent Jimmy Kimmel Live! appearance. Asked by Kimmel, Do you feel like your attitude toward women has changed since having daughters? West responded: No, I still look at Pornhub.

GOOD Music released five albums this summer, including Wests eighth solo album, Ye. Despite poor reviews, it became his eighth US No 1 record. West is currently working on music with fellow Chicago artist Chance the Rapper.

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Everyone, this is big news. JAY-Z and Kanye West might be ending their forever feud, and we’re all freaking out! Just imagine how beautiful the world would be if Kanye and JAY-Z were besties. They could collaborate on all sorts of magical tracks, roam the streets of NYC hand-in-hand, and even go on best friend dates in the hottest restaurants around town! This is a world I want to live in, y’all. So, is it true? Are Kanye West & JAY-Z friends again? Apparently, they’re on their way.

Sources close to TMZ revealed that Kanye West’s and JAY-Z’s lawyers have been trying to settle a $3.5 million dispute in court. Oh, yes. Please settle in court and clear the air! We need this! Although $3.5 million seems like a lot, their feud has nothing to do with the cashola. The TMZ source claimed,

The Generals [Kanye and JAY] have to meet face-to-face. When that happens, resolving the money dispute is a piece of cake.

The infamous feud between Yeezy and Hova all began when Kanye joined Tidal, JAY-Z’s music streaming business. West was supposedly outraged that the 1.5 million Tidal subscribers he brought in as a result of his album,  didn’t result in the bonus he was promised. He also didn’t receive funds for marketing efforts, including video production. Yikes. Tidal allegedly responded that West did not meet the full requirements of his contract. Soo… that’s awkward.

Frazer Harrison / Getty

Who really knows what’s happening, but why are they fighting over $3.5 million? That’s pocket change to these business moguls. This must be something deeper. Remember back in October of 2016, when Kanye vented to fans about JAY-Z during his Seattle tour? Yeah, that was intense.

He went on a rant all about JAY-Z being an absent friend after Kim K’s robbery on Oct. 3, 2016, in Paris, saying,

Don’t call me after the robbery and say, ‘How you feelin’?’ You wanna know how I’m feelin’? Come by the house… Bring the kids by the house like we brothers.

That’s a big ol’ burn! Kanye also mentioned his exclusion from Drake’s “Pop Style,” a song originally featuring a verse by Kanye. He said,

I wasn’t on the song because of Hova… Y’all didn’t get what you were supposed to get on this song because of some Tidal/Apple b***shit.

The rapper blamed the never-ending drama on “some political sh*t.” He also yelled, “can’t take this sh*t, bro!” Yikes. Things went south pretty quickly.

So could JAY-Z be angry at Kanye over these claims, or is Hova still in deep turmoil with Beyoncé? Remember these lyrics about his marriage from the album ?

And if my children knew, I don’t even know what I would do.

If they ain’t look at me the same, I would prob’ly die with all the shame.

‘You did what with who?’ What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate? ‘You risked that for Blue?’

I wasn’t a superhero in your face. My heart breaks for the day I had to explain my mistakes.

Whoa. I will never forget that. Becky with the good hair, where are you? I will fight you.

Although the friendship between Kanye and JAY-Z seems hopeless, we can all wish and pray for its revival. Hey, maybe they’ll even have a reunion tour! Kim K and Beyoncé can dance on stage with all of their babies, and the world can be a better place again. I would pay big money to see something like that. So, let’s hope the never-ending lawsuit ends, and JAY-Z and Kanye can finally go on that best friend date. Take pics, you two!

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Sources say rapper, who met with Trump in December, has turned against the US president following ban targeting seven Muslim-majority countries

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