Will Kanye Ever Be Accepted Back?


On March 25, Kanye West posted an Instagram post that appeared to be an apology to Jewish people. It read along with an accompanying poster of the 2012 action-comedy “21 Jump Street,” starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, who is Jewish.

“Watching Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street made me like Jewish people again,” West said. “No one should take anger against one or two individuals and transform that into hatred towards millions of innocent people. No christian can be labeled an antisemite knowing Jesus is Jew. Thank you Jonah Hill. I love you.”

With an abundance of Kanye irreverence, it raises questions about how far you can stretch the definition of an apology. He has a history of half-hearted apologies after comments that would make other celebrities’ careers collapse. This Instagram post itself might not provide enough evidence of a stable public awareness for traditional music institutions to accept him back into the fold, but it might be enough for his fanbase to. West has a strong, loyal fanbase that would be excited to see him release new music. It is hard to understand West’s motives with this post. He has always been very open and direct with his thoughts, but this could just be him trying to get his career back. It will be up to the public to decide that. He is an artist at heart and will want to release more music soon. Will we see the twelfth Kanye West album soon? 

West has a complicated history with Jewish people. It goes back to the start of his career when he was a very progressive voice that bolstered about uplifting communities from poverty and having respect for women against a backdrop of misogyny and gangster culture that was prevalent in the 2000’s hip-hop scene. He was always very passionate about Jesus and Christianity, themes featured in music throughout his career, and he wouldn’t speak ill of anyone in these early days. He was always known for his hyper-focused optimistic energy. Things would change in the 2010’s, however, a roller coaster decade for West’s mental state. His positive energy would turn sour after the death of his mom and the Taylor Swift situation. There were lyrics in songs that would mention Jewish people in a stereotypical light and highlight famous anti-semites such as Louis Farrakhan in the lyrics ‘Just talk to Farrakhan that’s sensei, ****.’  It was nothing out of the ordinary put in context with other rappers’ comments. Artists like Ice Cube and Jay Z have written lyrics about Jewish people in a stereotypical light as well and have not faced any backlash. 

Things started to escalate after the release of his eleventh studio album Donda 2. He released his now infamous tweet declaring that he is going ‘death con 3’ (misspelling the military terminology ‘Defcon’) on the Jewish people. Following this was months full of inflammatory statements on podcasts, interviews and internet posts. This would see his reputation degrade into a state most would consider unrecoverable. His biggest loss occurred when his fashion deal with Adidas got terminated. His reported net worth dropped almost a billion according to Forbes. West’s line of clothing ‘Yeezy’ made up 8% of Adidas’s revenue, which shows how much organizations were willing to sacrifice in order to cut relations with the storm of controversy he created. After months of comment after comment, each worse than before, and a universal condemnation from almost all mainstream media sources, the question now is: What happens to Kanye now?

This Instagram post might signal more from West in the coming months on this issue. If he appears for an interview again it seems most likely that he will elaborate on the post. Knowing Kanye though, it will not be the most formal or sincere-sounding apology. For past artists, going on a media apology circuit and meeting with rabbi’s seems to be the minimum for forgiveness from the Jewish community and the industries they work with. Like in the case of Nick Cannon, who won back his contract with Viacom after months of interviews peddling back on anti-semetic remarks. West might not have to do the same as his fame and financial influence far exceeds that of Cannon. It will be some time before we can see fully if the general public accepts West back into the mainstream. It was not as if his music ever stopped playing, but it will be a long road before we see other celebrities collaborating with him not risking the backlash. We will have to see in the coming months what becomes of this situation, and it will be interesting to see what precedent this sets for the future.