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Rapper Kanye West uses his pres­i­dential cam­paign to speak out against abortion. Courtesy | Wiki­media Commons

“In 2020, I am running for the pres­ident of the United States.”

It wasn’t Joe Biden, nor incumbent Donald Trump, who said this at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. It was rapper Kanye West — and he kept his word.

This past Fourth of July, West announced in a tweet, “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, uni­fying our vision and building our future. I am running for pres­ident of the United States … #2020VISION.”

Since then, West has acted on his pledge. He sat for a Forbes interview about his pres­i­dential bid, he held a cam­paign rally in South Car­olina, and he’s even made his way onto the ballot in the states of Arkansas, Col­orado, Iowa, Min­nesota, Oklahoma, Ten­nessee, Utah, Vermont, Vir­ginia, and West Vir­ginia. 

Many pundits have claimed that West started his bid in order to divert some Black American votes from Demo­c­ratic nominee Joe Biden. In his Forbes interview, West alluded to this, saying, “I’m not denying it, I just told you. To say that the Black vote is Demo­c­ratic is a form of racism and white supremacy.” However, he did say he is taking off the red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat for now.

West has also shown his dis­taste for Biden, explaining in the same interview: “I was threatened as a Black man into the Demo­c­ratic party. And that’s what the Democrats are doing, emo­tionally, to my people. Threat­ening them to the point where this white man can tell a Black man if you don’t vote for me, you’re not Black.”

Although media outlets have attempted to write off West’s con­tro­versial opinions as the result of bipolar dis­order, his public appear­ances and state­ments could prove mon­u­mental for the Black com­munity.

Sure, there’s no way he could actually win, but the platform he pro­vides for for­gotten Black voters — who are con­cerned for their com­mu­nities, hold a faith under­rep­re­sented by the Demo­c­ratic Party, and care about the well-being of their children — could be a way to correct long-lasting mis­in­for­mation and dis­em­pow­erment. West’s platform is truly a movement that allows the Black com­munity to break free from the assumption of voting Democrat.

West released his Kanye 2020 platform through a website that details 10 key issues, all based in Scripture, that he’ll focus on in his pres­i­dential agenda. Some of his key issues include pro­moting prayer in class­rooms, legal justice reform, and an “America First” foreign policy that resembles that of the current admin­is­tration.

One key matter that’s not men­tioned on West’s website, but is a regular point of dis­cussion at his public events and on his Twitter, is the matter of abortion. 

At West’s South Car­olina rally on July 19, he began weeping as he yelled, “I almost killed my daughter!” Although the crowd shouted back with words of encour­agement, media outlets attempted to label his dis­tress as a mental health issue. But perhaps West’s platform on pro-life rhetoric goes deeper than a bipolar episode.

Many African Amer­icans have accepted abortion as a solution for unwanted preg­nancies without dis­cussing the emo­tional and trau­matic effects it can have, such as broken homes, suicide, and depression. West even tweeted on July 31, “Over 22,500,000 black babies have been aborted over the past 50 years.” According to census data and general esti­mates, this number is not an exag­ger­ation. As West sug­gested, one should be deeply grieved over the thought of aborting a child.

In response to those who are sup­posedly con­cerned about his mental health and claim his views are irra­tional and emo­tional, West tweeted, “I cried at the thought of aborting my first born and everyone was so con­cerned about me … I’m con­cerned for the world that feels you shouldn’t cry about this subject.”

Some­thing this forth­right about the nature of abortion has rarely been dis­cussed by such a renowned, par­tic­u­larly African American, celebrity as Kanye West. And while West has said plenty of crazy and often not polit­i­cally correct things, he has never been pub­licly shamed to the point of woke ‘can­cel­lation.’ His music is too good and his fans are too loyal. 

But perhaps the immortal nature of West’s career will be a pos­itive force for the pro-life movement. Nor­mal­izing the idea that abortion is the equiv­alent of murder could actually save Black Amer­icans from being sus­cep­tible to politi­cians who encourage Planned Par­enthood funding and uphold Roe v. Wade in the name of fem­inism, women’s sexual lib­er­ation, and health, while actually making pro­vi­sions for human ter­mi­nation.

For example, this past summer, media outlets like USA TODAY and The New York Times pub­lished pieces detailing the racist roots of Planned Par­enthood. For the first time, main­stream media dis­cussed the fact that founder Mar­garet Sanger wrote explicitly racist letters and state­ments to friends, even saying at one time to Dr. C.J. Gamble “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exter­minate the negro pop­u­lation.” This was the mission of Sanger and her col­leagues, and they began imple­menting Planned Par­enthood into minority neigh­bor­hoods to accom­plish their goals.

For decades, dis­cussing the history and founding pur­poses behind Planned Par­enthood has been con­sidered taboo. But now, with main­stream outlets and someone as prominent as West beginning the dis­cussion about the evils of abortion, perhaps Black Amer­icans will have an oppor­tunity to see where sys­temic racism truly remains and is encouraged today. 

A House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives policy report from 2011 titled “The Effects of Abortion on the Black Com­munity” echoes these sen­ti­ments, stating, “Blacks who cry in des­per­ation for political change must rec­ognize that the majority of their civic leaders support policies which destroy their future con­stituency.”

As West raises awareness about insti­tu­tions such as Planned Par­enthood that attack his very own and have done so as long as they’ve been in exis­tence, there may be a real awak­ening for those who have con­sidered Planned Par­enthood to be a friend, and even savior, for minority com­mu­nities. 

West’s cam­paign may fail, but for the pro-life movement and Black com­munity, Kanye 2020 is already a victory.

 

Isabella Redjai is a senior studying political economy.