My name is Shani.
I'm 19, a student, living in Melbourne, Australia.
This is where I put things that I like.
Feel free to follow me here. Or not. You should really do what you want.
Kanye West is white America’s worst nightmare. Because as much as one may attempt to dismiss him — by calling him an asshole or classless or deranged or various other adjectives that fill the comment sections of literally every article about him — you still have to turn on your regularly scheduled late night comedy program and stare him in the face. You can’t avoid Kanye. He’s made very sure of that.
Kanye is not a “new slave” in the same sense as the victims of the prison industrial complex, but he is still trapped in a world that expects him to not only be complicit with the struggle of his people, but to be appreciative that he is not one of them. And on top of all that, while he gets to exist in the world of the 1%, having the money and signifiers of success still aren’t enough to make his (white) 1% peers actually even respect him.
The ideals of Public Enemy are as relevant today as they were in the 80s, but hip-hop was nowhere near as dominant and omnipresent a cultural force as it is at this moment; to compare the reach of their messages is silly. Upper-middle class white families did not have to deal with Public Enemy if they didn’t want to. Similarly with politically-minded “noise rap” artists that have been name-dropped in reviews of Kanye’s new material — it’s all well and good for Death Grips and Blackie and even Killer Mike to espouse similar messages and sounds (and honestly, the sonic qualities of “New Slaves” and “Black Skinhead” are hardly at the top of the list of why they’re important), but none of them have anywhere near the amount of visibility and influence as Kanye, even if they did hit it first.
People in current positions of comfort and stability are so willing to dismiss the transgressive thoughts of an angry black man that they will use any convenient excuse to diminish from them; if someone says something that makes you uncomfortable, why not immediately change the subject to his girlfriend’s ass or that time he yelled at a papparazzi or that time he got drunk and embarrassed a white girl? When was it exactly that Kanye shifted, in the eyes of the mainstream, from lovable polo-wearing backpacker to perpetually and unanimously An Asshole? When, precisely, did everything he said get immediately categorized as a “rant” or “controversial” regardless of the actual content? I want to say it was around the time when he said that George Bush didn’t care about black people on live tv. Hmm. Odd.
I could feel all these eyes on my page as I typed, and all these worries set in, the main one being that people would think I was obsessed with myself—why else would I think anyone would want to read my precious musings about clothes? That feeling ate away at me until I finally just deleted the whole thing, a couple of years after I’d started it. It was a premature decision. I never stopped to consider that (1) probably no one was thinking about me intensely enough to have built a character profile in their head, and (2) even if they did decide that I was an insufferable narcissist, who cared?
At the time, I did. I thought narcissist was one of the worst possible things you could call someone. If you’re a narcissist, I reasoned, that means you’re selfish, superficial, and self-centered—a look you can get away with if you’re a man, by the way. If you’re a guy who makes stuff and you tend to be oblivious to the needs of others because you are obsessed with the inner workings of your own mind, people will call you a genius. A woman with these qualities is more likely to be called crazy, monstrous, an attention whore…
[It] seems pretty clear that saying “I am an awesome person, I matter, and what I make matters” is as brave now as it was a hundred years ago. But you know what? Loving yourself and being proud of your work aren’t character flaws.
Why don’t you go read this delightful piece by Anna Fitzpatrick about why it’s okay to think you’re brilliant (hint: that’s probably the only way you’re going to invest enough time and sweat in your work to produce something brilliant). (via sadybusiness)
I was taking the streetcar home* with Haley after a long day at the Worn offices today. It was rainy and everything was packed because of it being rush hour and we were talking about how much work we had to do that evening. Then she says, “It’s cool how Sady reblogged your narcissism piece on Tumblr.” and I said “Wait, what?” and she says, “Oh, you didn’t know? She said it was a delight.”
Then I squealed a little and everybody else on the streetcar turned to look.
*and by home I mean to Haley’s home, duh.
As I grow older, much older, I will experience many things, and I will hit rock bottom again and again. Again and again I will suffer; again and again I will get back on my feet. I will not be defeated. I won’t let my spirit be destroyed.