The Rise and Fall of ‘Beloved’ Kanye West


It all started at the 2009 Video Music Awards (VMA’s) during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech after winning the Best Music Video award for her hit-song “You Belong With Me.” Kanye West interrupted Swift by saying “Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time,” alluding to the fact that he would have preferred Beyonce to win that award, since both she and Swift were nominated in the same category. This remark left 19-year-old Swift speechless, with a shocked look upon her face as the entire crowd booed West — igniting the first wave of West criticism.

Swift jokingly stated in a friendly, done-with-the-drama 2015 speech while giving West his VMA award, “Kanye West has had one of the greatest careers of all time,” making fun of what West said to her about Beyonce a few years prior. Regardless of whether we like West or not, Swift is right! With a whopping 49.5 million monthly listeners on spotify and 24 Grammy Award wins, West is undeniably one of the greatest artists of all time. But do West’s skills, fame, and success make him a morally good person? 

West tied the knot with his now ex-wife Kim Kardashian in May 2014, after a few years of dating. During their relationship, they happily welcomed four kids into the world, though now the kids are the center of many disagreements between them. The two ended their ten-year relationship, and twenty-year friendship, with a messy divorce and a series of online arguments, most of which were caused by West. In the past two years, West has had several public social media outbursts where he has insulted and criticized the mother of his kids, even going as far as threatening her new partner. West would go straight to the media with his complaints about Kim and her actions, causing misinformation to spread about Kim’s parenting capabilities. After West called Kardashian out on Instagram for allowing their daughter, North, to have TikTok, Kim posted a statement saying, “Kanye’s constant attacks on me in interviews and on social media is actually more hurtful than any TikTok North might create.” These acts are incredibly irresponsible for any grown man, father, and especially popular figure to be posting for the world to see. 

In addition to posting demeaning comments about his children’s mother on social media, he even leaked the name of the school his kids attended, putting them directly at risk. Unfortunately, with Kardashian and West’s immense fame and wealth, they are much more susceptible to harassment by paparazzi and pestering people who want to meet someone famous. By exposing which school his children went to, he put them at risk of getting hurt or being put in a bad situation. In the same statement from Kardashian where she clapped-back at West’s insults, she explained how West is making life more challenging for their kids: “Divorce is difficult enough on our children and Kanye’s obsession with trying to control and manipulate our situation so negatively and publicly is only causing further pain for all.” 

By childishly bringing typically private conversations into the public forefront, and ‘tattling’ on his ex-wife to the media, West caused a lot of damage and brought upon possible dangers to his family.

West’s poor actions have not only affected his family. In October 2022, West posted several anti-Semitic comments on his social media accounts, including an image of the sacred Jewish symbol of the Star of David with a swastika inside, a symbol that reminds Jewish people of the atrocities of the Holocaust. He even saw no problem in telling his followers that he loved the Nazis and that Hitler did not kill 6 million Jews. Everything about what West said is problematic and scary, and his blatant disregard for the 6 million lives that were lost is unforgivable. 

West’s anti-Semitism and pro-Nazi posts on social media were the last straw in his long-declining popularity. Very soon after West’s anti-Semitic remarks, he was banned from Twitter and kicked off Instagram. Not only did he lose his social platform for a while, many brands who sold products from West’s “Yeezy” brand, cut ties with him completely. Adidas, Gap, Balenciaga, and Creative Arts Agency (CAA) announced that they would no longer work with West and would not represent him and his products anymore, finally ending the high of West’s career.

It is undeniable that the things West has done are wrong and inexcusable, but does that mean no one should listen to his music anymore?

Some believe that simply listening to West’s music on apps like Spotify and Apple Music doesn’t affect or help him at all, but he actually makes an immense amount of money from streams. In the past year, West has made 23.3 million dollars from Spotify alone. He has made several million dollars from Apple Music and Youtube music videos. Every time a person listens to West’s music, though it may not seem like it has an effect, he is making a lot of money. Listeners’ streams accumulate easily and millions of dollars enter West’s pockets. With the money West receives per year from music streams alone, he could happily live the rest of his life never having to work again. 

By listening to West’s music, people are unintentionally supporting his propaganda and discriminatory views. It is wrong to allow West –  a childish, insensitive, and anti-Semitic person – to spread his intolerant beliefs and continue to gain money. 

By refraining from listening to West’s music and purchasing products from his brands, we can work to bring his career to a halt and prevent him from making easy profits.