I am well aware that there are thousands (millions?) of people who do not like Kanye West. I am not one of those people. Yes, I am loyal to who I love and I have been loving West for a long time, but it goes beyond that. West has helped me through incredibly hard times in my personal life, as well as on a greater level. West is who I turn to when I am frustrated with the state of the union as well as the state of my personal life. I know, I know, I know he can be tough to take. I promise, there is not a thing you can tell me about Kanye that will surprise me or that I do not know already know. I know him (in the spiritual sense), and his career, and everything he has spouted off about. I understand all of it (as much as you can understand Kanye), and I know he makes mistakes. But I also accept him for who he is, and thank him on the daily for his words and his life wisdom. Today is Kanye’s birthday, so what better day to tell you guys that:
EINTKILF Kanye West
1. Take care of the women in your life.
A very underrated thing about West is his appreciation for women. I know he relies on the typical rap music lingo and often refers to women by words that are less than desirable, but if you really listen to his message, he truly loves women. He speaks of his past relationships with harsh honesty, but there’s a lot of love wrapped up in what he says. He worships Kim Kardashian in the most “relationships goals” way. He absolutely loved his mother, so much so that all of our hearts broke when she passed away way too soon, and if you have never heard “Only One,” you only understand half of how he feels about his daughter North.
. . . I didn’t even mention Beyoncé, but he loves the life outta that queen as well.
2. Love your daughter.
West and his best friend Jay Z have a song called “New Day,” on the Watch the Throne album. Both men address their future sons, though the song was written before either of their children were actually born. I always get choked up listening to the lyrics as I learn what West (and Jay) wish for their children — a lack of paparazzi, a lack of judgment, love from both of their parents. Pretty human stuff! Since both men were raised in a very different environments than any of their children will ever be raised in, it makes for a very emotional music.
And then of course, after his daughter was born, West came out with “Only One,” which ties in his love for his daughter with the love he has for his late mother. West always puts North first, and it is always touching.
3. Racism should still be addressed.
Since Kanye has been making music, he’s been calling out racism. At the risk of getting too preachy, I will just leave you with the line rapped by Kanye over 10 years ago: “Racism still alive / They just be concealing it.” He’s still making sure we hear this point today.
4. Insecurities are REAL.
The one definite thing West is good at is self-awareness. I know a lot of people will argue against that statement, but a man who can call out his own insecurities is a self-aware man. (Or woman, obviously. I can call mine out like nobody’s business.) From the get-go, West has been loud and proud (more on that in a minute) about his car crash survival, his vision, and his talent, but on the other hand, he has been really clear about his own personal insecurities.
“Man, I promise / I’m so self-conscious / That’s why you’ll always see me with at least one of my watches.”
5. How to be loyal.
Beyond his loyalty to the women in his life (see above), West has always been very clear about who he is and where he comes from. West credits Jay Z for part of his success, and he is always vocal about that. Beyond Jay, West recently presented Pharrell Williams with the CFDA Fashion Icon Award, citing the influence Pharrell had on Kanye. It is always important to give credit to the people who helped make you you, y’all.
6. It is important to apologize.
I could not rightfully write about Kanye West without addressing the infamous interruptions he has pulled off in his career. Beyond just Taylor Swift (the most infamous interruption of them all), West recently semi-kinda-joked about Beck’s Grammy award-winning album — something that everyone thought was incredibly rude, besides the ultra cool Beck, who was completely unphased. What you guys should know about being an outspoken jerk (hey, he can be) is that apologies are everything. West has always apologized — whether on a talk show, personally, or in a song — to the people he has embarrassed or offended. That is so much bigger and better than so many of us. I honestly think West’s humility is super underrated. Peace is always made with West, and that’s a big deal.
7. Not everyone will agree with you.
And on a similar note, though I do not condone interrupting other musicians’ speeches, it is OK to have a differing opinion. It is OK to think that Beyoncé has the best music video or album of all time. It is OK to speak your mind at a telethon. It is OK to believe whatever you believe, as long as you are confident in your choices. No one will ever agree with everyone. That’s life. Kanye knows it, I know it, you should know it too.
8. Know yourself.
“I ordered the jerk / She said you are what you eat.”
Heyyyy, this is one of my favorite West lines because I can be a jerk, and though I’ve never ordered it, I would laugh if someone called me out. West knows he can be a jerk. He knows he is crazy talented. He knows all of his flaws and all of his strengths, and I think knowing yourself is the most important thing in the world.
9. Dress for success.
I feel like I blinked and West became a fashion icon, but here we are, 2015 and people are waiting in line for his shoes. Maybe it’s being married to a Kardashian, and maybe it is just that the dreams he has always had are finally being set free. Whatever it is, West dresses like a bo$$.
10. Accept everyone for who they are.
One of my favorite bits to come out of the Caitlyn Jenner story is the fact that Kim Kardashian found her acceptance and love toward Jenner’s choice to finally become herself from her own husband. That’s right, Mr. Bad Reputation Kanye West was the one to tell Kardashian to just accept and love Jenner’s transition. Maybe it surprised some people, but not me. I always knew West was a man of acceptance and love. Be yourself, kids, no matter what that looks like.
Happy birthday to my dude!