Yeezy Season 4
Yeezy Season 4
I have to admit, when I first saw the notice for the Yeezy Season 4 casting call, I felt some type of way. It was a familiar feeling when it comes to Kanye West--here we go again. I found myself checking my loyalty as a fan, but I had to, once again, stop and ask: what is the "deeper" meaning?
Now, to some of you reading this, you may scoff and say that Kanye and deep don't exactly go together, and site things like his outburst on live TV following Hurricane Katrina or the infamous Taylor Swift stage storming.
As a true fan of any artistic disciple, we should, rather, separate the man from the art. And while hip-hop is oftentimes equated with story-telling and pigeon-holed as a narration of ones own life experience, the new class of "rappers" continuously step outside of these boundaries to create entirely new, sometimes contrived cariacatures of themselves. While I believe Kanye West is also a Cusp Millennial, it is also my opinion that he does not assign his life to any calculable measurement of what it means to be "hip-hop". West doesn't tend to follow any trends when it comes to his music (aside from the vernacular and, for lack of better words, slang).
What he does provide is a mulititude of layers that aren't often immediately recognized by the average listener: i.e. the most recent Taylor's Swift debacle and the controversy behind the song AND video Famous. There's always something else going on when it comes to Kanye West expressing himself. And in this day and age of social media and over exposure, you can never really know the truth behind any public figures personal life. But you will still get their "art" whether or not these two world intersect.
So again, I gladly donned my cape of loyalty (although not official Yeezy merchandise) and found the silver lining in this rather quickly. As an American born of entirely Jamaican decent, I have often felt more comfortable identifying with my Caribbean culture. In regards to how I felt about being a "black" woman in America, I spent many years assigning myself as a Jamaican-American. Trust me, I went "H.A.M." on the 2010 census questionnaire.
Because I always knew that being a Jamaican is as good as it's slogan: "out of many one people", and every time I'm called a "coolie", I am reminded of how mixed I actually am. In a country that quickly labels you as black or African American, I know, genetically, I am something other than a checked box. Ultimately, however, I will always stand firm in my solidarity with the African American community. Given the turmoil in America surrounding race relations, I am a proud black woman despite what ancestry.com might prove. As a woman with dark skin, a majority of the time when others see me, I am immediately categorized, and I am willing to bet a majority of the time it is as an African-American female.
That is why this casting call/fashion show was so powerful. Who is Kanye West to tell any one of us that we are not "multiracial"? Because blackness has a history just like anything else and it often blends into other cultures, races and ethnicities. So, if you identify as black, be black. If you identify as multiracial, be multiracial. Do not limit yourself to just one box if you choose not to do so. Be free enough to stand in your blackness and reject any insistence to anything of the contrary. The "one drop rule" should work both ways in 2016. Be who you are and as God created you, but choose your own label.
So I put my cape back on because I knew he wasn't discriminating against me at all despite what the white guy down the street that has never met me might think after a glimpse at me from afar. With years of immigration, intercontinental travel and the like, by mid-century will the vast majority of people have some sort of multiracial lineage. So here I am applauding Kanye again for rattling the feathers of the ones who can't see what he is attempting to do here. Full display of what it really means to be multiracial in America.
And now that I have my own children that are unequivocally multiracial, I welcome any and every opportunity to show them that people come in all colors and that we should each individually celebrate our heritages and ethnicities while fully embracing the skin color and differences of everyone else in this world, regardless of how they choose to self identify. I want them to be able to walk in their truth with pride so that if they have to change the minds of those less open minded, they can and they will.
Did YOU feel "some type of way"? Comment below.