For almost two weeks now, I've stayed mostly quiet during conversations of Kanye West, almost as if he was in the room watching me. Trying to determine a prognosis of his mental stability, mostly based off the randomness and rapidity of tweets, has been a common practice, as if it's a joke, as if we have the right or credentials to diagnose something so serious, as if we haven't been to therapy ourselves, let alone judge someone who has (someone you really don't know, truth be told).
I've stayed silent.
After years of writing online, I still have to remind myself that we live in a time where our online presence can be seen as the sole summarization of our existence, where tweets turn into news stories which then turn into tweets linking to the news stories, where paraphrasing is unfairly done for clicks, where hating on someone's new venture is easier than admitting that it’s more impressive than anything you have going on, where saying something can be more about staying on top of a trending topic or at the top of a search engine instead of saying something.
I've stayed silent.
The conversations, online and in IRL, are hardly ever about The Life of Pablo itself: the gorgeous samples, the threading of transitions, 'Ye's arrival to faith, the fights of fame, the loss, the longing, the internals fights, the self-awareness. It's a true Kanye West album: infuriating, passionate, restless, unfiltered, progressive, crude, charismatic, over-the-top—delivered in the intersection between the now and the then.
I've stayed silent, because I see Kanye West as a human, and because I appreciate his genius, even if I sometimes disagree with his moves. I’d prefer Kanye West show his good, bad, and ugly, because that's genuine. There's value in his complexity.
I've been crying when I hear "Ultralight Beam" because it’s placed me face-to-face with my purposely delayed longing for a stronger sense of faith, and comes at a time where I've been praying more. I’ve been nestling myself into Chance's audible warmth and truth, because I've realized that it's more of a family member than a featured artists for 'Ye. I’ve been shaking my head angrily at the Taylor Swift line. I've been wishing he had kept Sia on "Wolves,” and I’ve been trying to not get mad at Frank Ocean for still not putting out new music whenever I hear him on the new version of “Wolves.” I've been whispering "If young Metro don't trust you, I'm gon' shoot you" to myself. I've been re-playing the memory of Madison Square Garden, of seeing Kid Cudi and Kanye West arm-in-arm dancing, because I too have been dancing to "Fade," waiting to dance arm-in-arm with someone when a DJ drops the beat.
I'm no longer silent. I'm still doing all of the above, and above all, I'm listening.