Kanye West’s tweets have been the subject of much controversy and discussion this past week as he has talked about everything from trusting your feelings to supporting President Donald Trump. Now, they have come to include a shoutout to his self-proclaimed inspiration, Emma González, and the student activist is simply not having it.
Last night, the rapper tweeted a photo of the Parkland school shooting survivor, captioning it: “my hero Emma Gonzalez.” And for one brief moment, we are back to agreeing with Kanye West! The way González advocates for herself and others is nothing short of inspiring. West’s clear support of Trump stands in direct contradiction of his claims to be inspired by González. Given the short succession, it begs the question as to whether it is genuine. No sooner had he tweeted about González before some of his followers vehemently expressed their disapproval in the comments. His support confused his followers even more as they asked him in the comments how he could find both Trump and González inspiring. They represent very opposite ends of the debate on gun control. You’d be hard pressed to find a subject they agreed on.
Replies ranged from questioning if West was being paid to tweet about her to the shorter and equally unsubtle reply from one user who simply wrote, “BOOOO.” Brevity may be the soul of wit, but I don’t think that is what Shakespeare had in mind.
Of all the responses, González’s was more subtle and arguably the most powerful. Rather than respond directly to West, the high school student used the same format to celebrate her own hero, James Shaw Jr., the man who wrestled an assault rifle from a gunman at a Nashville, TN Waffle House. Not only did he risk his life to save others, but he then went on to raise over $165,000 for the victims and their families. One of the reasons we admire Gonzlez is that she isn’t impressed by words alone, but by actions.
Either West has notifications turned on for González or he was just watching his Twitter really closely, because in the same minute that González posted her response, the rapper quickly followed up with a selfie captioned: “inspired by Emma.”
Had West tweeted about González a month ago, we wouldn’t have thought anything of it. Just another celebrity rallying behind young people trying to make the world safer. Now we’re confused. Is there room to be inspired by two radically different people whose opinions and goals couldn’t be further from each others? Maya Angelou wisely said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” West has shown us multiple versions of himself. Which should we believe?
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