Only a few days into the year and we’ve already been blessed with plenty to be excited about. Bad and Boujee hit #1 on the Billboard Top 100, Donald Glover won a Golden Globe, and thus far, none of my favourite celebrities have passed on (excuse me while I furiously knocking on wood). All those things are wonderful but, in the grand scheme of things, 2017 paled in comparison to the reemergence of Kanye West from his hiatus from the world. Only weeks removed from a highly publicized mental breakdown, a cancelled tour and rumours of a divorce from social media scarlett wife Kim Kardashian, it made me happy on the inside to see the man back at it, continuing where he left off. But one has to ponder, is he coming back too soon?
Kanye is not okay. Sometimes I catch myself wondering Is it even Kanye we see standing next to Donald Trump in that poorly timed photo op or has the Kardashian Klan finally found a way to clone their men, while the real Kanye is locked away in a basement in Calabasas like some eerily Eminem/ Dr. Dre hit record?
Here’s the million dollar question. Why do we glorify this internal decay? Why does popular culture romanticize this personal self destruction, and why do so many of us seem to seek gratification in mimicking the same flaws that ended so many of our idols’ glorious careers (and some occasions lives)?
Don’t get me twisted, some of the most cherished art has been created from some the most tormented minds. There’s something about bleeding on that canvas that we as humans gravitate towards. Maybe it’s the rawness. The reality that shit ain’t sweet and our art should reflect. Due to the importance of social media, we get a 24 hour, 7 day a week peak into the lives of our favourite people, peeling back that air of mystery that once made this shit so intriguing, all the while allowing us to witness aspects of the people we idolize that we other wise may never be aware of. We watch as they shave their heads bald and consume tiger blood. Some of us jest as they unravel for all to see. Others emulate these demons, maybe even subconsciously.
Being in the heart of the Toronto music scene, entrenched the under belly of its night life, I’ve witnessed so many talented artist succumb to their vices. Ask them who their favourite musician are and 9 out of ten times it’s someone from the infamous 27 club. The drugs, The women, The perceived fame. The grandeur. It’s all very sexy. And it’s all very dangerous. We mimic it. we eat it up like you favourite dish. Due to this culture, we’ve lost some of our most talented minds and perpetuated this trend onto the upcoming crop.
Social media has given your favourite local artists, models,and bottle girls a level of online prominence akin to that of your favourite hollywood star. Standing next to fame has always been this exaltation of excess, this glamorization of the pitfalls of stardom, whether real or dramatized. The Kirk Cobains and the Amy Winehouses and, most recently, Kanye West. I’ve noticed a theme here. Being fucked up is trendy. It’s been this way for a long time now.
Why do we, the audience, the artist, the indifferent public, turn in, and jeer and attempt to duplicate the things that are so venomous and destructive to our best and brightest? The easy answer would be, we the consumer, like our artists, are a little crazy. I’ll end this with quote from Dave Chappelle,”The worst thing to call somebody is crazy. It’s dismissive. I don’t understand this person. So they’re crazy. That’s bullshit. These people are not crazy. They’re strong people. Maybe their environment is a little sick.”
Maybe we’re all just a little sick.