Friday, May 11, 2018

Brand Consumption Coalitions: As Goes Blackness...,


LATimes |  West, however, has yet to face such industry reprisals. He has even posed with a grinning Universal Music Group head Lucian Grainge and influential hip-hop executive Lyor Cohen while wearing his MAGA hat. As an established artist with a huge multi-platinum back catalog, extensive production credits and his own GOOD Music label, West is perhaps less sensitive to fiscal concerns than other artists.

Adidas, the company that distributes his incredibly popular Yeezy apparel line, is standing behind him but made it clear that there are "some comments [the company] doesn't support."

And when it came time to record her first new music in six years, pop diva Christina Aguilera called West. He produced a handful of records on her upcoming album, including new single "Accelerate," which was released amid the furor.

"I've always been a huge fan of Kanye … Outside of, you know, his controversial aspects," she told Billboard in a recent interview. "I just think he's a great artist and musicmaker and beatmaker. The artists that he chooses to pluck from different walks of life are so interesting."

The recent backlash has been driven by fans who took his statements as a personal affront.
"This is a person who has spoken a lot about race over the years and in some very eloquent ways. The dramatic reversal of it all feels like it's more about power or … something else," said Justin Simien, creator of "Dear White People," a Netflix series adapted from his 2014 film of the same name that explores race and identity among a group of black college students.

At 34, Simien is part of a generation of West's core following — those entering adulthood when the Chicago rapper debuted with 2004's "The College Dropout," a potent offering that veered away from gangster posturing in favor of thoughtful observations on family, sexuality, religion, education, prejudice and wealth.

Disappointed fans have a few ways to voice their opinions. One, of course, is on West's own favored platform. The day he voiced his latest support of Trump, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar and Drake were among those who hit 'unfollow' on Twitter.

West is one of the most successful touring acts today. More than 97,000 fans attended his sold-out six-night 2016 stint at the Forum for his "Saint Pablo" tour.

That tour, however, was derailed in San Jose after West said: "I didn't vote, but if I did, I would have voted for Trump," prompting fans to boo and hurl expletives at him. He later nixed over 20 dates and was reportedly in treatment for mental health and addiction issues.

Similarly, his Adidas clout is considerable. The company's Adidas Originals division (which releases West's popular Yeezy sneakers) touted revenues up 45% for the period when he released "Life of Pablo" in conjunction with a new season of apparel.

The controversy, at least, has proven beneficial to West's "dragon brother," the president.