Kanye West: Jerk or Genius?

Kanye West: Jerk or Genius?

This blog is inspired by a Facebook conversation I had after the Grammys. Warning: It's a long one, but interesting if you can take the time to finish it all. After the Grammys, my local CBS station aired a piece called "Teachers Reflect on Kanye West's Success". Here's some highlights from the story:

"When he was in his early teens, he predicted his success. CBS 2′s Jim Williams talked to his former teachers, and describes how Chicago helped make him a hip hop superstar. Before he won a slew of Grammys, before his romance with Kim Kardashian made him a tabloid sensation, Kanye West was high school student in southwest suburban Oak Lawn. “Just a regular little kid. He was so small and tiny,” said Dolores Tamborski, who worked in the school office...It was, at times, a challenge. West was a creative teenager, often distracted in class. “Absolutely, there were times during class where he would be doodling or drawing or writing,” said Baker. “Back then I would have called it poetry, but it was really rap.”...Eventually, Kanye created his own sound, using elements of Chicago’s rich and varied musical history...Some of his teacher said they were not surprised by some of his antics, such as interrupting Taylor Swift as she accepted a Video Music Award. They said even in high school he sometimes spoke out before he thought about the consequences."

I'm a creative spirit and I gravitate towards other's with like mind. So I really like Kanye. He's from my home town. He makes great music. And he causes a ruckus. In my first book, "Voted Most Creative", I have an essay called "Your Own TV Show" in which I describe how "I like to live my life like it's a TV show. Every week, I have to create and act in some entertaining adventures to keep my ratings up and my show on the air. With my family and friends, I have assembled a cast of characters. My life's TV Show is high comedy with a little romance, drama, and faith mixed in....Sometimes, when I don't have enough high jinxes to carry a whole episode alone, I lean on my dynamic supporting cast. Think about the show Seinfeld. My favorite character was Cosmo Kramer. Everyone needs a friend like Kramer. I love it when people ask me why I'm friends with someone they deem outrageous or inappropriate (i.e., not a bird of my feather). I always reply that we all need a Cosmo Kramer in our lives." Kanye West is a Cosmo Kramer. I would totally hang out with him and be half-embarrassed and half-amused the entire time. And my show's rating would be though the roof. (I guess Kim beat me to that. #Great minds.)

After seeing the piece on Kanye, I post on my Facebook page: Great moments in Black History: "George Bush doesn't care about Black people." - Kayne West. (Yes, I spelled his name wrong in the post and every post after that. You know what the hell I meant. Shut up. LOL.) The "Likes" started rolling in, but then a girl wrote this comment, "Sorry, but that was an embarrassing moment."

I wrote: It was embarrassing on many levels. One of the most important is that it shamed George Bush into finally helping the people of New Orleans. Before Kayne called him out, he just flew over the devastation. After Kayne, he finally went to New Orleans, got out of his plane, and helped the people. So in the end, Kanye's embarrassment helped a lot of people. Kanye may do a lot of foolish things, but you can never say he doesn't/didn't stand up for people who needed help and I will always respect him for that. Now, the Taylor Swift mic check...that was just embarrassing. But it helped her career because I had never heard of her and probably never would have until he catapulted her into Black history. And she was a hit on SNL making fun of what happened. Blame it on the alcohol...I know I've let the Goose talk me into doing a bunch of stupid stuff. Fortunately, I just never did it live on national TV. SHM at Kayne. LBVS. He's my favorite clown. #LemonsLemonade

She wrote: I don't know about that, Deanna. Til this day, I don't think GB cared about the people of NO then or now. I'm certain it wasn't Kanye who embarrassed him into going to NO. What made him finally get his butt out there IMO was his less than stellar poll ratings and the negative press. Then and only then did he decide to finally send help. Lets not forget the head if FEMA failed miserably.

I wrote: I completely agree with you. And I submit that it was Kanye's spotlight that made the media look and say, "You know that was ignorant, but Kanye has a point. Why isn't George Bush doing more?" And then they put GB's feet under the fire and he was forced to respond. #GodWorksInMysterousWays #WhenUSeeSomethingSaySomething

She wrote: Lol @ "you know that was ignorant..." Either way you spin it, it's sad that he had no compassion for the people of NO simply because it's a predominantly black city. Wonder how he would have handled Sandy.

My sister chimed in: But does Kanye care about black people...N**as in Paris.... Kim Kardashian..just wondering

She wrote: Hmmm.... Opportunist, maybe?

Another person chimed in: This is good!

I wrote: Let's have a toast to the Douchbag.

I just saw a story on Kanye on CBS local after the Grammys. They interviewed his teachers. They all said he has always been very impulsive. He thinks then he acts before considering the consequences. He's an artist. Many artist are quirky. They march to a different drummer and that's why they create beautiful work. They live outside the norm. He's a genius, but he's impulsive. #GeniusIsNotCommon...NeitherisSense

She wrote: True. It seems he hasn't had that humbling moment. Usually, at some point as they grow older, they mature, but he just gets more ridiculous. I just don't like him. Can't you tell? Lol

I wrote: Vincent Van Gogh was 35 when he cut off his ear.

"Born prematurely, [Sir Issac Newton] was a small child; his mother Hannah Ayscough reportedly said that he could have fit inside a quart mug. When Newton was three, his mother remarried and went to live with her new husband, the Reverend Barnabus Smith, leaving her son in the care of his maternal grandmother, Margery Ayscough. The young Isaac disliked his stepfather and maintained some enmity towards his mother for marrying him, as revealed by this entry in a list of sins committed up to the age of 19...Newton had been reluctant to publish his calculus because he feared controversy and criticism." #NewtonSmallChildDivorcedParentsCriticismGeniusKayne

I hope he never humbles himself, if humbling means he doesn't use his platform to speak out for those who don't have a voice. #JusticeAintAlwaysPretty #HeroesComeInAllShape&Sizes

My sister wrote: I wouldn't catapult him to genius level. I will give you narcissist. Maybe legend in his own mind. Although I do think he has talent. And you are right about the impulsive part because if he had given it some thought maybe he would have made a more profound statement about Katrina and Bush. He just sounded like a fool and all I could do was laugh.

I wrote: I think his GB moment was genius. Yes, he's a genius. Geniuses are often not appreciated in their time because they are usually weird and offensive. "His five solo albums, all of which have gone platinum, have received numerous awards and critical acclaim." Jesus Walks...GENIUS. He bought spiritually to the masses...to the streets...to the club....KANYE WEST #GENIUS.

She wrote: Yeah, Delena, I have to agree with you in that. That's why I said his comment during the Katrina fundraiser was embarrassing. He came across as an ignorant buffoon. He had the platform, but didnt use it well. And I'm not sure that he's voice for others, because Kanye only cares about Kanye. This could go on all night. Amazing how we all have different perspectives of that event.

I wrote: Early in his schooling, Albert Einstein "clashed with authorities and resented the school's regimen and teaching method. He later wrote that the spirit of learning and creative thought were lost in strict rote learning...After graduating, Einstein spent almost two frustrating years searching for a teaching post, but Marcel Grossmann's father helped him secure a job in Bern, at the Federal Office for Intellectual Property, the patent office, as an assistant examiner. He evaluated patent applications for electromagnetic devices. In 1903, Einstein's position at the Swiss Patent Office became permanent, although he was passed over for promotion until he "fully mastered machine technology". Genius challenges the norm. It goes against the grain. Genius is often not appreciated or understood by the masses.

My sister wrote:  I like his music don't get me wrong but he reminds me of the little boy in the classroom who is always disturbing everyone to get attention. His genius is overshadowed by his obnoxiousness. The little stunts he pulls are like the kid saying look at me look at me. I think he is insecure quite frankly and appears to need validation from others to feel worthy. They did a course on Jay Z at some university. I think someone should do one on Kanye that would be interesting. Lets call it Jerk or Genius (TITLE OF THIS BLOG!). The story of Kanye West.

She wrote: Prince....GENIUS! Kanye...narcissistic, cocky, needs a hug & Jesus. Lol

I wrote: Genius doesn't learn like everyone else. Genius is often bored in traditional classroom settings because it's creativity is confined.

She wrote: Good debate and great points on both sides. This little chica has to be up early in the morn, so I bid you ladies a good night. Lets do this again :-)

I wrote: Prince is a genius too and he's considered weird too. He dresses up like a woman...in make up, ruffles, and high heeled boots. Much like Kanye wearing a leather skirt. Prince and Kanye are very much the same. But too bad when I think of Prince, nothing pops up in my head of him speaking out for Black people. He spoke out against his record label making him a slave, but did he extend his message and help individual/smaller artists? Did he help the people in New Orleans? Who's the narcissistic now? The artist who tried to help, but may not be polished and well spoken or the artist who did nothing? "She wrote (I'm not including her name)"..cool good night. Delena Burrell (I am including her name)...my sister always takes the opposite point that I take. I still love her to pieces and I still want my Daddy's records.

Fred Sanford...GENIUS. You Big Dummy. Kim and Kanye...changing the face of the Baby Momma for all time. Another great moment in Black History. Niggas in Paris...Genius. We gon skate to one song and one song only. We going banana...WHAT! It's provocative...It gets the people going. #GETTINGHYPEOVERHERE #LETSGO #BALLSOHARD

And that ended the tread. I would like to add that Kanye is a college drop-out. I went to Northwestern University and have worked in corporate America for over 15 years. I've been polished and buffed to a high shine. He has not. He has millions of dollars, fans, and contacts, but at the end of the day you need to remember...he's a college drop-out. Again...GENIUS. He realized college wasn't for him and he was ready to start making his dream happen. He stepped out on faith when everyone told him not to. I did the same thing. Last year, I quit a six-figure corporate job to pursue my dream of being an author and a creative spirit. And now I'm the happiest and most-fulfilled I've ever been.

I also would like to add that people need to stop judging and spreading negative energy.

John 8:7 He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.



"We all need a Cosmo Kramer in our lives. Those are the people that keep life interesting with their wild adventures and off-the-beaten path perspectives. They keep you on your toes. You call them when you’re in a rut or a sad place and they drag you from your apartment and remind you that life is good. They take you somewhere you’ve never been before and probably will never go back to…but lo and behold, you have the best time hanging out with G.O.O.D. people and engaging in random activities. They remind you that life ain’t half bad. Actually, you’re doing pretty fuckin’ good. And if you’re a Kramer (Kanye), then God bless you. We should all have a little Kramer (Kanye) inside. Granted, it’s hard to be that entertaining and outrageous all the time, but sometimes you should just let loose. Bust in the door, slick back your hair (grab the mic), and say something that makes everyone stop and look. If not for you, then at least for your ratings." - Voted Most Creative

I hope one time Kanye comes home to Chicago, he looks me up and we can have a #SingleGirlSummer #KanyeKramer #SummerTimeChi #GOODLife #RedCupAdventure.


Deanna Burrell is the author of the best-selling novel, Single Girl Summer

 and the inspiration journal Voted Most Creative. Described as "Waiting to Exhale" meets "Sex and the City", your summer won't be complete without it. Click here to download Single Girl Summer now!

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