The problem with Kanye West’s Genius Theory

“Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are a plethora of famous and infamous eccentrics that claim to be misunderstood, misquoted or misjudged. Most couldn’t care less about what you think of them. Kanye West isn’t one of them.  He’s the one who will whine and complain when the media gets it wrong, mixed up or simply steps on or over his delicate line.

I’d like to think that I’m sympathetic to the plight of the underdog, the misunderstood. The media has a big voice and it is often the only one the world hears. Like anybody, they often get it wrong–even with a guy like West. So when I read that Jimmy Kimmel had done a spoof on his show, West retaliated with words, they both said some things and so on and such, it piqued my interest (probably a little more than it should have, after all it is not like I am a huge West fan). But I just prefer it when people get it right. So I watched the show, the one where Kimmel invites West on so that they could settle their “beef”.

He begins somberly talking about himself, how difficult it is always being perceived by the press as arrogant and pompous when in fact he is doing everyone a favor by showing up for work every day.  He called himself a genius; he said it as casually and offhandedly as I would call myself a woman. He went on to say that many people feel they are genius, but are too caught up in being socially correct to admit it. We, he says are clothed in false humility. He is not. He is honest about his genius factor.

Among other narcissistic, self-absorbed clamoring he lamented that the media and the powers that be in the fashion and entertainment world are constantly overlooking his indelible stamp in the industry and he is not getting his due…uh no… he didn’t mention any of his 21 Grammy wins. I’d hope to find something redeeming, something graceful about him throughout the interview but found myself wishing I’d read a book, taken a walk, skipped rocks or done anything but watch it.

I have a problem with labels. Firstly, they are confining. They place you in a space that is often unrealistic, if not inauthentic. As humans we are rarely any one thing all the time. We are complex, multi-faceted and insanely imperfect. In one aspect we are brilliant and in another we are bumbling and almost idiotic. We can be both humble and foolishly self-absorbed.  Our humanity is the best and worst part of us. Once we think we have it all figure out, the entire thing falls apart, for reasons we can’t explain.

Once we start believing these labels, they trip us up and baffle us as we try to live them out with a fantastic-like fervor.  And when we fail we are both frustrated and confused.  What you are is simply what you are; whether it’s innate or something you grow into. It isn’t covering you wear like Prada, or Gucci; it is not a tiara or a crown for the world to see and admire. Your diva or pimp-status isn’t freeing, it’s debilitating.  It causes others to look at you in one way, and one way only. And when you fail (and we all do) the world will shake their heads and wonder.  And you will wonder too.

Who you are, who you truly are is a part of your design for a reason and purpose. And when you are walking authentically in such glory, the bullhorn becomes unnecessary. No need to scream it on the mountain top or prance it in front of the grown folk like toddlers do when they’re donning Momma’s high heel shoes trying to look the part of that which is much too big for them.

If you are a genius, you will never have to speak it. People will admit it, in spite of themselves.  They will love and hate you for what you possess.  Not once did Jesus say he was the King of the Jews. That was their proclamation, (indeed it was true). You will not have to whine that you do not get your just.  Your reward will seek you out. If you have something the world wants they will come to you as you walk out your truth. But most importantly, if you do possess these things people will see you in action.  Your movements and ways and voice will change lives, create movements, and they will hail it even as they see you coming. Your announcement of your label isn’t confidence; it’s your need for confirmation, to consistently hear your own voice remind you that you’re OK. People who are truly OK don’t’ walk around saying, “I’m OK.” (Those are the people you avoid for obvious reasons.)

Save the labels for clothes and canned goods. Live what you are and you cannot be denied.