To many, Kanye West is merely an egomaniacal rapper. To others, he’s a powerful black force with T’Challa-like abilities to rally those who worship at the altar of Yeezus. I believe the former, but it sounds like President Donald Trump believes the latter, since he just thanked “Make America great again” Ye for doubling his poll numbers at, of all places, a National Rifle Association convention.
“And by the way, Kanye West must have some power, because you probably saw, I doubled my African-American support numbers,” the president said during the convention Friday, The Hill reports. “I went from 11 to 22 in one week.”
According to The Hill, Trump was referencing a Reuters poll in which his numbers rose some 11 points with African Americans between April 22 and April 29. If true, then this would be around the time that Kanye returned to Twitter and went full Killmonger to Trump’s Ulysses Klaue.
And this, my friends, is the reason that so many people took issue with not only Kanye’s hurtful rhetoric but also with the use of his voice and his power to potentially push the needle the wrong way. If the Reuters numbers are correct, then the shift could quite possibly be attributed to West’s tireless efforts to cape for Trump.
The problem with this is that Kanye has not only entered into the fray running backward; his influence is being touted at a convention for the NRA—an organization so utterly white and male that in the effort to campaign for gun rights, they very rarely include people of color. In fact, although history has proved that the scariest terrorist in America’s sordid time has perpetually been a white man with a gun, the NRA uses xenophobia and racism as the basis for a fight against gun control.
Never forget that the NRA went famously silent during the 2016 shooting of Philando Castile, a black man with a valid permit to carry a gun, who reportedly informed the officer who shot him that he was armed. It would have been a textbook example of violating a citizen’s rights, except for one small problem: Castile was black and, well, the NRA doesn’t care about black people [old-Kanye voice].
But I’m not going to turn this into a think piece about Ye’s uninformed positions and grossly out-of-touch stance. We’ve read too many of those by now, but I think this moment speaks to a bigger problem that Kanye’s influence can have: jumping into politics with no idea what the hell is going on.
Just let all of this sink in: After Trump acknowledged that Kanye’s influence helped raise his poll numbers, he then looked out to the crowd filled with white gun owners as far as the eye could see and said, “Thank you, Kanye, thank you.”