All Black Everything… Except Black Models
by Selam Aster
There’s a reason that accusing someone of “saying one thing and doing another” is such a popular insult. It encapsulates being fake, hypocritical, and inauthentic. And unfortunately, that applies to the uber-producer and artist Kanye West. I’ve never taken him too seriously. I know that as much as he will stand up for Black victims of Hurricane Katrina one day, he’ll turn around and worship at the temple of the Kardashians the next. He’s inconsistent, I get that.
But amid the heels of the very political and black power sentiments in “Watch The Throne,”a collabo with Mr. All-Black himself Jay-Z, West’s blatant ignorance of his power and influence as evidenced in his debut fashion show at Paris Fashion Week is disturbing. Out of about 12 models who donned his women’s wear line, there were only two black faces. Seriously. Seriously??
It’s amazing that something so simple as expressing your supposed love of black culture by hiring your sistas to represent on the runway is lost on Mr. West. To him I say: you can talk about changing the world all day, you can rap about police discrimination all day, about how you were unfairly berated for insulting Taylor swift because you’re a black man, etc, but when it comes down to it, you’re just another gatekeeper yourself. Your small actions are just as important as your bold lyrics. And in this case, you could’ve made a small yet influential decision by telling (because you are indeed the boss) your fashion scout to hire black models.
West’s lack of action and indifference makes me question if all his sentiments about race amount to little more than adding a surprise factor to his music. On one of WTT’s best tracks, “Murder to Excellence,” Yaye raps about the lack of Black figures at the top:
Yeah it’s all messed up when it’s nowhere to go
So we won’t take the time out ’til we reach the T-O-P
From parolees to hold G’s, sold keys, low keys
We like the promised land of the OG’s
In the past if you picture events like a black tie
What the last thing you expect to see, black guys?
Hmm…what’s the last thing you expect to see on the runway Yeezy? Black girls. But yeah, you could’ve changed that reality by speaking a few words.
What do you think? Should we take Yeezy’s lyrics to heart? Or should we just accept it as entertainment?