Conservative Kanye, we hardly knew ye.
Kanye West is distancing himself from politics, or so he tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. “My eyes are now wide open and (I) now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in,” he wrote. “I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative!!!”
Whether that means the President no longer makes him feel like Superman was unclear from the vague tweets, but it was clearly taken that way by many of those responding on Twitter, from conservatives calling him a sellout who’d given into liberal pressure to progressives saying West’s stepping back wasn’t nearly enough to undo the damage he’s done.
“Thanks for the laughs @kanyewest,” tweeted one bemused figure on the right, Michael Flynn Jr.
West’s only politically specific remarks in his afternoon tweetstorm were against African-American conservative Candace Owens, figurehead of the “Blexit” campaign to urge black Americans to leave the Democratic party. Owens had earlier said she had asked West to help out with the Blexit logo. Monday, she tweeted that West has “totally different political beliefs than mine” and had only pointed her toward a designer, but the damage had already been done among wavering West fans who considered his alleged support of Brexit a step too far.
“I introduced Candace to the person who made the logo and they didn’t want their name on it so she used mine,” tweeted West. “I never wanted any association with Blexit. I have nothing to do with it.”
The calm and formal language in West’s series of tweets immediately resulted in theories — conspiracy or otherwise — that they had been written by ghost-tweeters, not West himself. “It’s not even him tweeting this. He is at a JBA basketball game in Houthalen, Belgium,” wrote one Belgian. West was known to have traveled to Belgium to attend JBA basketball games over the weekend.
Among the tweets coming from West’s account was a sort of fresh mission statement, with positions that seemed to suggest affinity for both sides of the political divide: “I support creating jobs and opportunities for people who need them the most, I support prison reform, I support common-sense gun laws that will make our world safer… I support those who risk their lives to serve and protect us and I support holding people who misuse their power accountable. I believe in love and compassion for people seeking asylum and parents who are fighting to protect their children from violence and war… I would like to thank my family, loved ones, and community for supporting my ACTUAL beliefs and my vision for a better world.”
Sample reactions ranged from “Does that mean you admit that Donald Trump played you like a fiddle?” to “Looks like the Democrats enslaved you again. Amazing how your voice of being a free thinker resonated with conservative African Americans and they finally felt free, and you shame Blexit? Shame on you for being a hypocrite.”