Screenshot of Kanye's New Music Video "Eazy"
Let's talk about the music video on Kanye West’s new song “Eazy” with The Game.
As I currently write this I see countless media headlines declaring how controversial it is that Kanye has done this, that or the other. They’ll say he's out of his place and shouldn't have made the video. They'll say that he should delete it because no civil society would ever allow something like this to be created. Despite these countless cries I'm here to say that this is nothing new.
When we take a look at art across time we see that artists push boundaries by definition. You cannot be classified as creative unless you create something which hasn’t been done before. Although in some ways we may argue that something like that has already been done such as when Kathy Griffin held a model of Donald Trump’s severed head back in 2017.
Now we see Kanye obviously drowning in what appears to be jealousy of Pete Davidson. Although it's hard to say whether he’s acting for publicity or not, it's important to remember that he is an artist by definition. Due to the way he’s currently feeling and/or presenting himself he creates this new Claymation motion picture where we see him riding through the desert to kidnap Pete Davidson, eventually burying him by the end of the music video. Obviously this piece is not pleasant at all as it holds an extremely grim and dark meaning alongside a drained destitute black and white color palette.
When we look at art solely in the service of depicting beauty we find ourselves restricting the full range of the human experience. We cannot be constraining the mechanism which artists use to express and share their perspective. By definition if you are an American artist you have a freedom under law which protects your artwork to the very core. This is the foundational freedom of the artist. The American first amendment is the protection which artists and citizens all across the world wish they had under law. Artists shouldn’t have to worry about whether they're going to get arrested for something they’ve created unless there is genuine malice and/or illegal activity involved.
Artists by definition push the visual frontier as well as the boundaries of the culture which it inhabits. I don't believe it's our place to censor them just because we don't believe or support their perspective. I don't believe we should be censoring our artists just because their creation goes against any societies traditional cultural norms. We should allow them to create. However, if you believe the work to be offensive then you may use your own voice and freedom of expression to share your thoughts on that piece.
Criticism and censorship are two profoundly different and distinct things.
After receiving immense criticism and pressure Kanye either decided or was force to clarify as he stated:
“Art is therapy just like this view
art is protected as freedom of speech
art inspires and simplifies the world
Art is not a proxy for any ill or harm.
Any suggestion otherwise about my art is false and mal intended”
If art shocks or mesmerizes you then that proves both its power and effectiveness. First you may ask yourself why it shocks you and why you’re offended. If you have the instinct or desire to destroy that piece due to your offense then you should ask yourself an even deeper question; Why is my desire to censor a piece rooted in direct proportional degree to the offense I'm currently feeling?
Use your voice to criticize art you disagree with after the fact instead of using your power to censor it before anyone has a chance to see it.
Like Horus we should confront chaos willingly with an open eye instead of hiding in cowardice. At the end of the day if we constrain people’s freedom to express themselves through art then we will constrain freedom of thought in general which is the mechanism that allows the artist to dream in the first place.
Let’s not make this a “Rules for thee but not for me” situation.
You can tell a lot about a society based on how they treat their artists. Those who treat their artists like absolute crap are obviously quite resistant to change.
Yet even here we’re seeing people from a diverse range of views looking in absolute disgust as they call for Kanye to be censored.
They want to control him.
They want to be the managers of thought for Kanye West.
Artists must be free to create.