How Kanye West Inspired Me to Be a Better Person

Kanye West is one of today’s most debated artists in pop culture. The public perceives him as a pompous, arrogant and entitled human being with a lot of popularity and money. The media jumps at every opportunity to show unsmiling photos of the hip hop mogul in order to show that, “See! He’s never happy. Not even with his wife! Not even eating an ice cream cone!” Ever since he began experimenting with new sounds and textures in his music, even his talent has been up for debate! However, this isn’t a blog about anybody’s opinion on Kanye West. It’s actually a blog to explain why he’s inspirational to people like me, despite his personality or professional reputation.

Say what you want about Kanye West, he has inspired many people like me to be a better person. I can’t tell you the amount of anecdotal evidence I’ve stumbled across life, where College Dropout, Late Registration or Graduation kept people motivated to tough out the stress of their course loads. What about that rough day at work where you played Spaceship and imagined yourself escaping this world?

Kanye did it again for me when I finally understood his vision for Yeezy’s Fall 2015 line. And again when he announced that he plans to run for president in 2020, during an otherwise confusing rant (acceptance speech?) upon receiving the MTV Video Vanguard Award a few months back.

You can’t tell him nothing, right?

In order to understand Kanye’s modus operandi, you have to understand that this man has been determined ever since he was a young child. He performed for kids in fifth grade. He sold his first beat in seventh grade. He spent $35,000 of his own money to record his first video, Through The Wire. Nothing, neither a false accusation of stealing in 2000 nor a car accident that left him with a shattered jaw in 2002, or even depression in the later 2000s stopped him from getting to where he is today.

So understand that when he tweeted this, it changed my life:

It showed the Twittersphere that Kanye isn’t just some guy who’s into himself. He doesn’t believe he’s some special person who was chosen to be who he was. He’s simply throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks. Whether you consider Kanye’s DONDA organization, his shoe and clothing lines, his emerging new artists, his own music and art, his videography or the art he does for others, Kanye has experimented with everything he’s wanted to try. Whether or not his announcement to have a go at politics is legitimate or not, only time will tell. But the story remains the same: Kanye has committed himself to trying everything, and thinks we all should too.

This tweet put new ideas in my head. It made me realize that I too can try everything. We are often put into boxes. We might even catch ourselves telling others to “stay in their lane” as though there is only one option for everybody. The educational institution makes it nearly impossible for you to do more than one thing with your life. Many careers leave little room for a real work-life balance. Many historical figures we’ve read about were painters, poets, arithmeticians, astronomers, botanists, explorers, philosophers, musicians, artists and playwrights all at once. In 2015, we’re told we should only pick one. For people like me who feel constricted from the pressures of today, this opened a whole new window of opportunity for me.

Since Kanye’s tweet, I made some small changes. I decided to spend less time on social media and more learning new languages, writing my book, teaching myself to make my own clothes, reading books and practicing instruments. I’m not trying to be a fashionable, author/rock star/polyglot but trying new things and keeping your interests diverse is not bad advice. Sure, Kanye is not the first person to give encouragement of this sort to his fans and he won’t be the last, but his persuasion inspired me to make time to find other things I enjoy. Hasn’t an artist ever inspired you to do or feel a way? If not, why even bother coming into contact with art?