In defense of Kanye West: When Blacks make it out of the ghetto.

Kanye West
Kanye West

The following is written by Valerie T. Parham-Ward and is in response to the poem “Footnotes for Kanye” by Jasmine Mans.

I am an older person and rap is not my thing but my niece placed this (the video) up and I felt I wanted to respond.

As a person who came up during the 60’s when we in Harlem could walk over to the Mosque on 116st and hear Malcolm X talk, I learned about our struggle as a people. We were militant as young people, wanting to overpower “whitey”, a lot of hate. We were torn between Dr. King who we first thought was too soft and did not see that his non-violent approach was indeed militant and strong. I say all of this because we won the right, thru blood and tears to live any place we want and with anyone we want. This was the freedom we demanded to “Be Who We Are” and be respected.

Kanye has some mental health issues, we all have something but it is not revealed on the world stage like him. He doesn’t have to live in the ghetto to be black and experience racism. He should not be considered a sell out because he is enjoying the riches that whites enjoy. Who the fuck doesn’t want to live well? I am a Mother & Grandmother, should I not want my children to avoid living like I had to. I did not send my son to college to have him come back and live in some rat trap. I empowered him to do better than I did.

Every generation should do better than the former. That to me is Black Empowerment. That is what the struggle was and is about.

In regard to Kanye being with a white person, whatever, I lived too long and understand at the end of the day it is most important to be happy. Some of the black young women I encounter as a mental health professional need a lot of help, suffered a lot of trauma, abuse which is why there is sometimes bitterness like this woman in this video. I don’t know if she is Kanye’s Ex or just bitter in general. She needs help because you should not be defined by the man you are with. You should be strong to stand on your own regardless.

I just laugh when I hear people say about those who made it, “They forgot where they came from. They do not come back to the old area.” Who the hell wants to go back and risk getting shot again especially by some homie who resents the fact that you got out. Helping those you have left behind via a foundation, etc., is a noble thing but the bottom line is; you don’t owe anyone anything period. Give back to those who helped you but no one should demand that you do for them. . You put in the work.

People, these are hard times and you young people have the mantle now. You can rap about social injustice which is fine but what are you doing about social change? You can protest on the streets but are you taking care of your children not just financially but mentoring them to show them how to survive.

Black women, you can make a lot of noise like this woman did OR YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE. Love yourself before you love anyone else so when or if he walks, you can move on and the experience might scar you but not destroy you. You will be stronger than ever. So when you reach my 60’s, you can enjoy your loving hubby of 40 plus years, a career, children and grands and know you have been blessed.

God Bless all of you young people. Keep Moving.

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