How Kanye West Became a Far-Right Media Hero
The rapper continued his exploration of #MAGA land on Monday, tweeting a conservative Scott Adams rant and earning the plaudits of Alex Jones and others on the far right.
Kanye West on Monday continued his public flirtations with the far right, this time earning the plaudits of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
After returning to Twitter earlier this month, West has raised eyebrows for sharing posts from prominent far-right online supporters of President Donald Trump. The Grammy-winning rapper who famously declared on live television that former President George W. Bush “doesn’t care about black people” became a star on the right when, on Saturday, he tweeted his support for right-wing activist Candace Owens.
Just hours before West’s tweet praising her, Owens, who routinely deploys inflammatory rhetoric, delivered a speech telling black attendees to stop thinking about slavery. It is “embarrassing,” she said, when black people invoke Jim Crow laws to discuss American racial inequality.
And in a series of tweets on Monday, the rapper shared links from Scott Adams, the ardently pro-Trump creator of the cartoon Dilbert, who recently wrote a book about the 2016 election that Politico dubbed possibly “the worst explanation for why Trump won.”
Having suddenly found an ally in a musical genre they normally rail against, conservatives of all stripes pounced.
Conservative digital-media organization Prager University turned some of West’s recent tweets into inspirational memes. “Self-victimization is a disease,” one meme reads with West’s image in the background.
Owens thanked West profusely both online and during a Fox & Friends segment—which rang especially odd considering the conservative talk show’s long history of railing against rap music.
Meanwhile, far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones—who infamously declared the Sandy Hook massacre to be a hoax—who just three years ago shared an article that argued West was a “microcosm of America’s degeneration,” praised the rapper on Twitter and invited him on the Infowars’ founder’s online talk show.
“I admire your bold moves against the thought police,” Jones tweeted at the rapper. “And if you want to see these control-freak vampires really go crazy, please join me on my broadcast!”
The Gateway Pundit founder Jim Hoft, known for publishing inaccurate or conspiratorial takes on the news in defense of Trump, positively retweeted West’s posts.
Responding to the liberal backlash to West’s tweets, former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly—who once likened West to a “disease”—came to the rapper’s defense, tweeting that Yeezy “finds himself under attack by the American Stalinists.”
Other right-wing online personalities seized the moment as well. Dave Rubin praised the rapper for exposing the left’s “true bigotry.” Alt-right ringleader Mike Cernovich declared that “reality is ripped open” by West’s tweets.
Pro-Trump, conservative site Breitbart extolled his right-wing turn and bashed his liberal critics. In its daily podcast, The Daily Caller called West's recent tweets "sometimes incoherent" but “incredibly brave” for supporting right-wing activists and not conforming to "liberal, racial group-think."
"Kanye, welcome to the fight," contributing editor Derek Hunter said. "The good thing about Kanye West is he doesn't give a damn."
He added: "He's standing on the bow of his gigantic yacht flipping the bird with both hands. And that, while I'm not a super fan of his music, I'm a fan of that."
While conservatives may think they’ve finally found a celebrity more popular than Scott Baio to take up their cause, West’s politics are often inconsistent at best and certainly difficult to pigeonhole.
For example, the rapper attended the anti-gun March for Our Lives rally just last month—a movement that was widely rebuked by pro-gun conservatives.
Additionally, within minutes of posting the Scott Adams videos on Monday, Kanye proclaimed actor/rapper Donald Glover a “free thinker.” Glover has been massively critical of Trump, remarking last year that the president made “black people number-one on the most oppressed list.”
But despite his liberal politics on issues like same-sex marriage and police brutality, West has been something of a Trump supporter.
He famously met with Trump during the presidential transition in late 2016, and declared during a lengthy on-stage rant at a post-election concert that he would’ve voted for Trump.
“That don’t mean that I don’t think that black lives matter,” West said. “That don’t mean I don’t believe in women’s rights.”
West added: “I wanted to say that before the election, but they told me, ‘Whatever you do, don’t say that out loud.’”