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This story was originally published on May 4, 2018.

“Dear Kanye”: An Open Letter to My Favorite Artist

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Dear Kanye,

I first want to start off by simply saying that you are one of, if not my favorite artist ever. I often struggle in picking between you and Kurt Cobain, which is amazing to me due to the fact that your personalities are so different. Kurt was a master at avoiding the spotlight, and often rejected it. You’re an attention magnet, and seem to bring it in. But when you set aside all of your differences, you’d find out that you are both highly proficient at making amazing music and providing food for thought. In 16 years of my life, filled with a music library well beyond my years, it’s safe to say that I have never found anyone as polarizing as you. I love that. I also love how dedicated you are to your craft. Whether it’s selling clothes, selling shoes, or selling albums, it’s clear to almost everyone that follows you that you are one of the most determined men in the game. I appreciate how dedicated you are to your artistry, and I look up to how you’re unwavering when the odds are stacked against you, like when you and 50 Cent were locked in the heated battle to outsell each other. You strive to progress your craft, and the people around you, and that is one of the most useful talents any person on this earth can have. Fans like me think very highly of you, which is why when we see episodes like the one on TMZ, we start to worry.

When I first saw your tweets about Donald Trump and you wearing the MAGA hat, I wasn’t fazed. I didn’t really care.

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https://twitter.com/kanyewest/status/989227154993963009

I spent the next week defending you, and clearing up misinformation like you losing followers. I checked people saying “I’m not buying Ye’s album because he likes Donald Trump!” I found most of the public’s comments inane, and if my favorite artist is being attacked, of course i’m going to hop to his side. Most die-hard fans would, right? Everything calmed down for the most part, and I thought the storm had passed. Then I typed your name into Google earlier this week, and boy was I wrong.

“Kanye West just said that 400 years of slavery was a choice,” CNN reported. The first thing I did was scratch my head. I thought of ways to defend your statement, as a good fan would, but how was I supposed to defend THAT? What were you even thinking? How could 400 years of our ancestors being oppressed be a choice? You, and every other person should know that the slaves did not want to be oppressed. Even today, some Americans don’t want to follow all the rules and regulations that we have set, but they do, in fear of punishment. If a slave lashed out, they got whipped or killed. You should know what happened to Nat Turner. When he tried to rebel, it got him and the people who fought with him killed. When news of that struck everywhere, it instilled further fear into the hearts of slaves. There is little anyone can do when they’re oppressed. If you fight, you die. If you do something the oppressor does not agree with, you face punishment and or death. It is literally near impossible for you to change your surroundings. So why would slavery simply be a choice? If a man with a bullwhip and musket threatened you and your family, would you not do the same thing?

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What me and most of your other fans want from you is understanding. We want to know if you’re okay. We’ve heard about the mental breakdowns, we’ve heard about the maximum amounts of stress, and we’re seeing it all play out on our phone screens. How do you think we feel when we see our favorite artist talking about how he was “drugged the f**k out” on opioids and yelling across the TMZ newsroom about how he’s supposed to take three pills daily and proceeds to take one only one or two a week. It’s not healthy.

Let me help you by taking a page out of your own book: “Wake Up, Mr. West.”

See what you’re doing to yourself. The meds aren’t killing your genius, you are. Take your meds! They’re prescribed to help! I’m positive that the doctors know more than the dude that supplies you with drugs. And please, please, please, PLEASE, don’t say or start anything that will cause anymore controversy! I love you, and I love free thought and the First Amendment, but you have two albums coming out in a month. Now is not the time for bad press! Continue to elevate yourself and the ones around you, but watch what you say from now on. Defending you is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever taken on, and I don’t even get paid for it.

Kanye, this is the most open and active you’ve been with your fanbase in a very long time, however, despite that some of us still feel like we’re losing you. We’ve lost many great men to mental illness. Let’s not make the greatest artist of our generation another one of them.

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We got love,

Mack Walker

(P.S. Both albums better snap.)


Mack, 15, attends North Atlanta High School

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