Kanye West: Separating the Art from the Artist


Charley Levine, Staff Writer

As antiSemitic comments have surfaced, in the wake of the last month, Yeezy sneakers have been discarded in disgust, or for others, newly purchased and laced up. Either way, Kanye West’s products are disappearing, and West likewise suffers a costly fallout. While corporate partnerships flee from West and media coverage surges, fans attempt to grapple with what it all means. How can we compromise our displeasure with Ye’s motives without discarding his music? What do we do with our $400 pair of Yeezy sneakers?

“Kanye is now ‘canceled,’” Adar Serok (’25) said. “No one is going out to purchase a pair of [his] sneakers.” Though while many of Ye’s sneakers vanish from sight, some people remain ethically stumped in considering the weight of Kanye’s comments and the price at which people have spent on their Yeezy collectibles. After all, though Adidas has terminated its partnership with Ye, the German shoe and sportswear company announced that it will continue to sell the existing inventory. And while Adidas compromises in the face of an unprecedented plight, fans contemplate a compromise of their own. 

“I definitely have not been listening to Kanye’s music,” Serok said. Though once an avid Kanye fan, Serok struggles to support the products of a man whose morals she so strongly condemns. However, “I wouldn’t necessarily tell someone to turn off his music,” she admitted. Serok certainly acknowledges that West has become a highly regarded artist in the music industry, but she finds that Ye’s art/works are merely products of his own emotions. Therefore, it is impossible to view the art and the artist as separate entities. On the flip side, however, others are unwilling to compromise their own joy. In this case, people feel that the art is far removed from the artist; Kanye and his sneakers/music are independent entities.

While Kanye has attracted widespread attention for his antiSemitic comments, other prominent figures, however, have seemed to slip under the radar. “Both Gigi and Bella Hadid have displayed antiSemitism on social media,” Serok said. Yet “no brands have cut ties.” Here, Serok refers to the Palestine-Israel conflicts in which the Hadids encouraged the hatred of Israel and promoted the accusations that pinned Jews for war crimes. Serok further added that like the Hadids, Dua Lipa has used her platform to “show false narratives to demonize the only Jewish state in the world…I think people need to be more educated and aware,” she said. “There is antiSemitism beyond what cancel culture illuminates.”

More important than cancel culture, it’s important to remain educated on the fame on which we feed. Who do we want to support? Before personal pleasure, we must consider the international impacts and morals of a figure. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have to throw away a pair of sneakers, but we do have to be educated and aware of what we are supporting. At the end of the day, we each have a choice to make.