By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published on October 13, 2018; Updated and Republished on October 5, 2022
[Author's Note: In light of Kanye West's promotion of "White Lives Matter" in Paris earlier this week in the photo below, I am republishing my October 13, 2018 editorial opinion about his visit with then-President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.]
Kanye West’s visit to the White House on Thursday reminded me of Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of the fictional character “Stephen” in “Django”, a 2012 movie about slave life on a brutal Mississippi plantation in 1859. Stephen was the trusted “House Nigga” at “Candyland,” the infamous plantation of shady Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) where Django's long-lost wife (Kerry Washington) was a slave.
Kanye’s Oval Office visit was not a fictional event. It was a real life event that was captured on TV for the world to see. This video and accompanying transcript of what was said are now in the official archives of the Office of the President.
Kanye is the highly-touted “friend” of Donald J. Trump, America’s shady president. He is one of the GOP’s designated and trusted role models for African-Americans. Kanye has joined the ranks of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Housing Secretary Ben Carson, two well-known African-Americans who have also earned the trust of the GOP establishment.
For those readers who have seen Django, it is hard to tell were the fictional portrayal of “Stephen” ended and the vulgar, real life, subservient, and ingratiating conduct of Kanye West began. They appear to be one and the same. At least Samuel Jackson was just acting in a movie. Sadly, Kanye West is being true to himself.
Thursday was a classic example of life imitating art. A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when it depicts the subservience of a well-known American-American celebrity to a modern-day, race-baiting demagogue, who has no respect for women or people of color.
Former Alabama Governor George C. Wallace, who vowed in his fiery inaugural speech on January 14, 1963, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever,” would have killed for this kind of photo op. No self-respecting African-American at the time would give Wallace such a photo op.
Readers regularly ask me why I reference history in so many of my articles. The answer is simple: Knowledge of our history allows African-Americans to gauge whether we are progressing as American citizens or returning to plantation life under the watchful eye of “Stephen”, Kanye, and/or “Master” Trump.
PHOTO: Life imitating Art: "Stephen" with "Calvin Candie" (top picture) and Kanye West with President Donald J. Trump (bottom picture).
PHOTO: Candace Owens (left) and Kanye West (right) in Paris in October 2022. A picture is worth a thousand words.