A CNN op-ed piece says Kanye West should not be allowed to have a “platform” to express his opinion.
“The time has come to stop amplifying his platform when he continues to misconstrue facts and distract the public from truth,” writes Ernest Owens, editor of Philadelphia magazine’s G Philly and CEO of Ernest Media Empire, LLC.
“Shutting him down is not a matter of censoring opinions; it’s a matter of being responsible in how we elevate or endorse the cult of celebrity in situations that further espouse toxic lies. At this point, any outlet that continues to allow Kanye West a platform to knowingly speak such misinformation is either enabling the former or exploiting his celebrity status for ratings,” Owens said.
West has been outspoken in his support of President Trump in recent weeks, drawing ire from Hollywood celebrities and liberals — especially in the mainstream media. West notably raised hackles when he said that slavery was a choice. “When you hear about slavery for 400 years … for 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” West said in a TMZ interview on Tuesday.
“Like, you was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all? It’s like we’re mentally in prison. I like the word ‘prison’ because slavery goes too direct to the idea of blacks. It’s like slavery, Holocaust. Holocaust, Jews. Slavery is blacks. So, prison is something that unites us as one race. Blacks and whites being one race. We’re the human race,” West continued.
Owens said that “West is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. Suggesting that 400 years of slavery “sounds like a choice” is simply not an opinion based in truth. Anyone who chooses to seek any fact in his statement is abandoning reason altogether. But this is where the cult of celebrity has gotten us. Our President, a former reality television star, has a hard time separating fact from fiction — and now his new fan Kanye clearly does too.”
But Owens then goes one step further: Shut down Kanye altogether.
“While President Trump’s position makes it harder to shut down his questionable statements, it shouldn’t be too difficult to do that for West. It’s time Americans of conscience seriously reconsider the role we play in giving celebrities a platform to espouse lies — especially at a time when everyone needs the truth more than ever.”
While West is not, of course, entitled to his own facts, he certainly is entitled to his own opinions. Anyone within earshot of what he has to say is also entitled to decide for himself or herself what they think of Kanye’s comments.
The idea that a famous rapper needs to be silenced, though, is absurd. And while Owens writes that “Kanye should spend less time on Twitter striving to provoke, and invest more time in a history class where he can do something many of would prefer — listen to facts,” maybe Owens should take a quick peek at the Constitution, which guarantees all Americans the right to freedom of speech — regardless of whether you agree with them.