The Internet headlines read yesterday that esteemed rapper and freshman designer Kanye West believed he was discriminated against in the fashion industry because he was not gay. Wait, what? Negro, please. You are giving the fashion industry, and society as a whole, way too much credit. To think we’ve surpassed the human rights movement and come full circle to start ostracizing heterosexuals is just plain foolishness. It’s absurd and untrue.
I like Kanye and respect him as a rapper and producer. When it comes to music, he’s an absolute genius in my humble opinion. When it comes to his personal style, he has a clear eye for what looks good on him and understands his aesthetic. Even when it comes to his quote-tastic interview rants and marijuana-induced awards acceptance speeches, he’s an enthralling source of entertainment. But when it comes to fashion design, he’s a fanboy of high end designers that has mistaken his love and appreciation of luxury design for actual talent. Both Yeezy seasons 1 and 2 are essentially nothing more than overpriced underwear. Nothing from any of these collections is wearable in real life, and other than all of the front row celebrities his presentations can draw out during Fashion Week, there’s really no reason to pay these items any mind.
The only reason Kanye isn’t still slaving away in someone’s showroom slinging lattes from a Starbucks run is his celebrity. Does he really feel that he was discriminated against? Or is he just pissed that his fame wasn’t enough to push him through the door faster?
The LGBT community is still fighting day in and day out for acceptance in all industries. And just because the world of fashion has served as a sort of haven for many gays doesn’t mean we’re ready to play the role of mean girl and keep the straights out. To accuse the fashion world of hetero discrimination is to assume that all gays are accepted there. Fashion is still a very unfriendly place for many types of people, and diversity isn’t exactly fashion’s best friend.
It really makes my temper flare to hear a statement like this. In just one simple, seemingly blasé sentence, this major public figure has singlehandedly undermined everything that gay people are fighting for. I stand by Kanye in his vision for music. I stand by Kanye’s fans in their passionate devotion to his style. But I can’t stand by him in this crazy excerpt from his latest weird interview. This isn’t a question of fairness or equality. It all boils down to whether or not his design story is one that’s compelling enough to be told in a major fashion forum.
At the end of the day, he had Anna Wintour in the front row of his first presentation. There aren’t many first-time designers who can boast about that. So whatever “discrimination” he was facing, he seems to have overcome it.
But If he’d like to jump to the other side of the tracks and experience what actual discrimination feels like, I’d be willing to show him a thing or two. Otherwise, best of luck on Yeezy Season 3.