Every time someone mentions the name of American hip hop artist Kanye West, it’s always almost followed by a negative remark, be it regarding his love and hate relationship with Taylor Swift, his unsatisfactory remarks to Nike, his 2020 presidential ambitions—or simply, his quite obnoxious personality.
But for Kanye fans, the hip hop star is just misunderstood and has actually got a lot of positive traits.
“He's a very opinionated person who speaks his mind out loud,” Sole Slam founder Antonio Aguirre Jr., who has been following Kanye’s career since the early 2000s, says. Aguirre added that Kanye’s personality can be likened to a double-edged sword; his remarks can make people either love or hate him.
Even with the amount of controversy he has created through the years, we also can't deny that Kanye remains relevant, and still continues to be an innovator and game changer, be it in music or fashion. “Kanye does a lot of things that are very unconventional; he wouldn't be where he is today if he tried to get everyone to love him,” graduate student Carlo Benipayo, who has been following Kanye’s career since the late 2000s, notes. Whether you're a Kanye lover or hater, you'll really have to give it to the man because of these four things:
1. His love for his family.
Kanye with wife Kim Kardashian and daughter North.
Those who have been following the hip hop artist for a while can attest to that fact that Kanye is not as bad as how the media would typically depict him. For one, he is known to be a family man, having songs dedicated to his grandmother Lucille Williams, mother Donda West, and daughter North West, like “Roses,” “Hey Mama,” and “Only One,” respectively.
“I love how Kanye is actually family oriented,” art student Jannie Docto, who has been following Kanye since the start of his career, shares. “He's a loving husband and a great father to both his children,” says Team Streetwear Philippines founder Maj Veloso, an avid Kanye fan, referring to Kanye's show of affection for both North and Saint West, as depicted by the media and through his tweets.
Aside from being loyal to his wife Kim Kardashian and valuing his family, Kanye has been supporting Chicago, his hometown, by educating out-of-school youth with music. “He's so far from the monster everyone makes him out to be,” Aguirre adds.
2. He is true to his own self.
Kanye during his early days as a music producer.
In the age of social media, it's hard to determine if people are being true to themselves or not, because most would portray a different personality online and in real life. Kanye, however, remains true to himself, no matter what people say about his boisterous and cocky personality. “He's as real as it gets, and the world needs more of real people,” Benipayo says.
Be it when he criticized George W. Bush’s administration back in 2006, or when he was questioned regarding his religious beliefs and his choice of words in his songs and tweets, he would always make it a point to explain his side and stick to his word. “He explains himself as to why he’s like that, and that’s a rare trait these days,” freelance writer Iconn Cayabyab, who has been following Kanye since the beginnings of his music career, says.
3. His persistence to make things work
Kanye's venture into fashion has garnered the attention of various personalities, including Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour (left).
Before Kanye was regarded as a fashion icon, with the immense following for the shoes and clothes he has designed, he has actually faced several failures. From the failed launch of his clothing line Pastelle in the late 2000s, to being criticized negatively for his earlier fashion shows, Kanye has shrugged off his critics, and instead continued to hone his craft.
“He tried many times in fashion and failed, but instead of stopping, he continued to do what his passion is, and that is why he is successful also in that field,” Aguirre explains. Whether it was his collaboration with A Bathing Ape, Louis Vuitton, Nike, A.P.C., and recently adidas, Kanye’s efforts in fashion has created an impact similar to his musical prowess.
4. He inspires people to chase their dreams.
Kanye receiving a honorary doctoral degree at School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).
“That’s Kanye being a role model: Pursuing what you want even if the world does not want you to do what you do,” Cayabyab said. Looking through his Twitter account @kanyewest, one can get nuggets of wisdom from Kanye himself, albeit peppered with random outburst.
Here are a few of his inspiring tweets:
Catch Kanye on April 9 at the ASEANA Open Grounds to see for yourself what really makes him tick, if you're still polarized by his persona.
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Banner Illustration by Jana Jimenez. Photographs from Twitter.com/Kanyewest