Kanye West´s intention to run for president in 2020 reveals that rap celebrities have become increasingly influential. However, we should control the influence of celebrity culture and distinguish between entertainment and serious political issues.
Absolute chaos sprung some days ago in the streets of New York, when the Twitter world’s influencers spread the word that Kanye West was performing a sold-out concert at 2 a.m at Webster Hall.
In the end, he did not show up to the concert, nor it was clear whether it had been a rumor or just one of Kanye’s many stunts. Yet, it did not stop the hoards of people from waiting for him in the streets of Manhattan like Waiting for Godot. This is the latest sign that nowadays, celebrity culture is impacting mass mentality excessively.
“Nothing more influential than rap music” claims Kendrick Lamar in his song Black Friday, which becomes a decent proclamation if we consider the preceding incident and the fact that Kanye plans to run for president in 2020. In the same song Kendrick says “I am yelling Mr. Kanye West for president” and “You better off voting for Donald Trump”. Needless to say, these type of statements guide the public opinion about politics, especially among youth who see celebrities as role models and often imitate their actions and adopt their opinions.
Rap music has always been influential, and its power has created some positive effects. For instance, it is one of the few music genres dominated by minorities, which is particularly positive, if we consider the fact that in movies and music, minorities are seriously underrepresented. Sometimes clever and nuanced lyrics criticize social problems, which makes young listeners more critical. On the other hand, most of the times the explicit content of rap songs often promotes violence, drug use, misogyny and homophobia.
The potential effects of Kanye West’s political campaign
As the impact of rap celebrities grows and Kanye West plans to run for president, there might be some serious additional effects. One benefit is that more young people who would otherwise be ignoring politics, maynow start getting involved with governmental issues and voting. The voter turnout is currently very low, at about 54%, a value that should be significantly increased, in order to achieve more effective representation of opinions. However, a paramount drawback of Kanye’s intention to campaign, is that American politics could be seen as an entertainment event. Already this year, many have been following Donald Trump’s controversial campaign just for the “amusement” it offers.
However, politics is extremely serious and it is vital to distinguish it from entertainment, in order to elect skilled candidates that will benefit society, rather than amusing yet inexperienced candidates that will be unable to cope with the serious task of being a politician.
Kanye West: the threat of the unprecedented influence of celebrities.
Kanye’s plan to involve himself in politics reveals that rap music and celebrities in general have become unprecedentedly influential. Rap for instance, has transformed from a marginal music genre that used to express only minorities in the Bronx, to a genre that influences an ethnically and economically diverse audience, dealing with all aspects society, lately even politics.
Having Kanye West as president and Kim Kardashian as the first lady, would be the superlative proof that we have become extravagantly obsessed with celebrities.
While it is appropriate and desirable to have celebrities as role models, especially when they are talented, it is crucial to know where to draw the line between admiring a celebrity and being obsessed with him or her. Moreover, it is essential for youth to understand that celebrities might not be the most suitable candidates when it comes to politics.