"The American idea of racial progress is measured by how fast I become white” as said by James Baldwin.
Calabasas, California is an isolated small community located on the outskirts of Los Angeles, tucked in between Malibu and West Hills. According to the recent census, the demographic make-up of Calabasas is 75% white and 2% African-American. It is filled with gated communities clustered in a wealthy enclave, where the single-family home averages $2.3 million.
Recently known for its influx of celebrities who call it home, it has become home to a specific type of wealth. The celebrities who have inhabited Calabasas do so as a means to display their new-found wealth in an isolated fashion.
Kanye West occupies a cultural space that has lead him to isolation in the hills of Calabasas, as a result of both his success and purposeful lifestyle choice. Once a man attains a level of stature, if he isn’t cautious of the ruin, of both mind and health, that that extreme fame can cause, then what will only be left is his reliance to project his wealth, as a means of acceptance.
It is even more dangerous when that man has narcissist tendencies. A consequence of man’s narcissism is that he often draws a likeness comparison, and only accepts, those who he sees himself in, for everyone else, is either lower than him or an outsider. This causes a blindness, for the narcissist doesn’t see the other person for who they really are, they only see themselves in that person — also, referred to as dragon energy.
Yet this can become a lonely place, where the depths are sunken with bottomless pits, especially once you have lost your own self-awareness in self-absorption along with a forgetfulness of where you came from.
When the Southside of Chicago transforms to the Hidden Hills of Calabasas that are filled with Mediterranean villas, even the most revolutionary, can go from the “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” to embracing Donald Trump — the current symbol of American exceptionalism and last bastion of white supremacy.
Slavery wasn’t a choice, but as the saying goes, a people without knowledge of their history is like a tree without roots. This is not to say that Kanye West is not knowledgeable about the plights of his people but his comments on slavery and embracement of Donald Trump is an indication that what he once knew and fought for, was left behind, when he entered and became on occupant of the isolated sunken place; also known as, Calabasas.
When you forget who you are, you forget about those that look like you, the same ones who you have once fought for. When you were once a symbol of outspoken blackness, unapologetic self-expression and musical genius.
The impact and harm that your forgetfulness can have is scalable on a large scale, especially when your platform is as large as Kanye West’s.
“Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have,” a spoken truth said by James Baldwin.
It is okay to have free thought and Kanye has embraced the phenomena of ‘free thinking’. But when your free thought is both baseless and not grounded in history or the current realities of today — where there is a regime whose sole prose is to Make America Great Again at the expense of the disenfranchised — it is then your free thinking becomes a dangerous tool for those who can’t think for themselves.
Which comes really to my last point, if Kanye wants to embrace free thinking then let him say what he wants to say then make your decision. Think for yourself.
As an avid supporter of Mr. West, I have written endlessly about his self-awareness and affirmation-based mindset that you’re the most creative and powerful being. This was a reminder that I should be careful of idolization; like J. Cole said:
“It’s been hard for him to look into the mirror lately
There was a time when this n***a was my hero, maybe
That’s the reason why his fall from grace is hard to take
’Cause I believed him when he said his shit was purer and he
The type of nigga swear he real but all around him’s fake”
…..Nobody with the balls to say something to contest him
So he grows out of control
Into the person that he truly was along, it’s starting to show….”