Kanye West's Surprise Speech at Harvard Design School Shouldn't Be Trashed
Kanye West made a detour before the Boston stop of his Yeezus tour — Kanye stopped by the Harvard Graduate School of Design to wax poetic about his architectural vision of the world. Naturally, wife Kim Kardashian went along with him, as did Virgil Abloh, creative director of his DONDA brand. Kanye and Abloh are apparently doing a whole series of design lectures with DONDA, the design firm that West founded.
Lots of Instagrams and videos emerged of West's speech (which he made from on top of a drawing table), and of course, as always, Yeezus was ultra-quotable. A few choice words he had to share with the surprised and delighted Harvard architects:
"I really do believe that the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to actually be 'architected."
"If I sit down and talk to Oprah for two hours, the conversation is about realization, self realization, and actually seeing your creativity happen in front of you. So the reason why I turn up so much in interviews is because I've tasted what it means to create and be able to impact, and affect in a positive way."
"I believe that utopia is actually possible--but we're led by the least noble, the least dignified, the least tasteful, the dumbest, and the most political. So in no way am I a politician--I'm usually at my best politically incorrect and very direct. I really appreciate you guys' willingness to learn and hone your craft, and not be lazy about creation."
Then Kanye gave all the Ivy League-ers tickets to his Boston show that night, so apparently all you need to do to get tickets to a Yeezus show is get accepted to the Harvard School of Design. Probably easier than StubHub.
Hopefully Kanye won't be ridiculed again for what is often mistaken as bravado and megalomania. After the Kimmel fiasco in which Jimmy "Oops, Sorry You're Offended" Kimmel mocked Kanye by literally infantalizing him, West doesn't deserve any more condescension at the hands of people who write him off before they listen to him. More points for Kanye: apparently the GSD African American Students Union wrote to West a few weeks prior asking him to come speak. Kanye listens!
I'm glad that artists like Kanye are pushing for societal betterment through art and design rather than through policy and politicking. It's easy to get discouraged creatively, especially in a job market that will laugh in your face at times for pursuing creative endeavors. It may be that I am feeling tender for 'Ye, but after Kimmel, I am proud that Yeezus is still as balls-out confident as ever.
His Twitter "tirade" was actually justified anger, and if you want to read more about artists of color being marginalized, you should go to this amazing long-form piece that Cord Jefferson wrote in response to the Kanye-Kimmel feud.
Say what you want about Yeezus, but are YOU one of the most prolific hip-hop artists of the moment?
Image: Kim Kardashian/Instagram