Can Jews continue listening to Kanye?

Stella Muzin, Reporter

With the controversy surrounding rapper Ye’s (Kanye West) recent antisemitic tweets, many CESJDS students as well as Jewish people globally are wondering if they can still listen to and appreciate West’s music. Do we need to abandon music that we have listened to and has inspired us for years? In my opinion, Jews should avoid listening to West’s music to ensure that they are no longer financially supporting him.

On Oct. 9, West tweeted: “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 on Jewish people. The funny thing is I actually can’t be antisemitism because Black people are actually Jews also. You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone who ever opposes your agenda.”

While there is plenty wrong with this tweet, the first thing many were confused about was the use of “death con 3.” West meant to reference the US military condition “Defcon 3.” Defcon 3 means to increase your readiness and is used in situations that may not pose an immediate danger but warrant a significant alert.

Not only did this tweet threaten Jews by labeling them as dangerous, but it also appeals to white supremacists who will use the beliefs of a celebrity as justification for their own antisemitism. He encourages the antisemitic stereotype that Jews have control over the media and will “black ball” those who oppose them. Consider someone who doesn’t know many Jewish people. All this person knows is that West said they were dangerous. That statement will strongly impact that person’s image of Judaism.

It’s also significant that West has over 30 million followers on Twitter, which is greater than the number of Jews in the world. With that wide of a reach, it is important to hold West to a certain standard with what he says.

West has a history of creating chaos in the media. His lack of filter partially stems from mental health challenges that West faces. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016, which can be known to cause drastic and frequent personality changes. Though it contextualizes his actions, it is not an excuse for being antisemitic.

I have seen some of his supporters claim that people must separate the art from the artist as justification for listening to West’s music. However, it is important to remember that West profits from his streams. Do we want to set a precedent that artists can say whatever they want and still profit?

Although it takes up to 300-400 streams on Spotify to make a dollar according to USA Today, there is no doubt that artists like West make thousands a day purely off their music. So every time someone listens to one of West’s songs, it will directly benefit him and reinforce his belief that he can act without repercussions.

You can verbally condemn his statements all you want, but continuing to make actions that will support him financially is practically an endorsement of his words. I do not plan on listening to any of West’s music in the future, and I urge you to do the same.