I believe there are numerous valid reasons to criticize Kanye West, but his rant on Jimmy Kimmel Live is not one of them. You may think he sounded crazy, but it wasn’t a kind of crazy that was foreign to me—or, I’d assume, millions of other Americans. It was the crazy that comes from being stared at for daring to look different while eating breakfast with your mom. It was the crazy that comes from never knowing if you deserved to be kicked out of that bar. It was the crazy that comes from being the one person stopped by a cop amidst a sea of white people. “This is racist,” you might say to the cop. “Prove it,” he might say back. And at that moment, you can’t.


2 Chainz said Kanye did some of the Photoshop work for the DONDA-designed B.O.A.T.S.: II cover. Does Kanye do a lot of DONDA graphic design himself? It’s funny, because I didn’t know he was as computer savvy as he was, because I’m just not. At all. He shows me his things—I see them in hand-sketch form, then I get to see them on a computer and edits from things like that. Kanye does a hell of a lot of sketching, in an idea sense. A hell of a lot. I’m sure Kanye will also utilize the likes of a Joe or a Virgil if something is not to where he thinks it could totally be.

Was Kanye always an expert at design programs? If not, when did he pick them up? I have no clue. But when I met him, he didn’t have a phone and only lived by the computer. So I figured that would be his twist. I noticed [his interest in design] when I first went to Hawaii for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, with the art direction on that and the [George] Condo work. Then he had a lot to do with the art surrounding his shows—the ballerinas. Kanye really mapped that whole thing, the aesthetics of it, out.


thank you rjs

But why do we still so often look to the unknown spaces, other languages, and new names? Why do we invent and stay rooted in a language that only we understand? I think black Americans have needed space and the realm of the incomprehensible — as a kind of haven, an alienated otherworld, whirling with unknowns and new freedoms for a very simple reason: because our real life here on earth has at times been more than a drag.
You can’t control why someone picked you. As much as I’d like to think I got into my alma mater purely on grades, essays, SAT scores, and recommendations, I’ll never really know. What I do know is that it didn’t hurt that I was black and a good student. And the only thing I could control was leaving that environment unequivocally not as quota filler, but as an irreplaceable spoke in the wheel.