#YESTOBLACK

Opinion: Kanye West is Not a Thug

Published September 17, 2009

While millions of people thought they were enjoying their Sunday evening by watching the MTV Music Awards, they were privy to something more memorable, the initiation of Kayne West to the Black Thug Society.

I'm sure you're familiar with the organization.  It contains such dignitaries as President Barack Obama,  Henry Louis (Skip) Gates, and Van Jones among others. (I'll get to that later.)  

West's membership was complete the moment he snatched the microphone from Taylor Swift as she was giving her acceptance speech for winning the best female video award.

If you need further proof just check the blogosphere and social networking sites.

A simple Google search of the words 'Kayne West Thug' amassed more than 1,070,000 hits with the vast majority coming from comments left on blogs and networking groups such as Twtter.

An example of such thoughts come from a comment left by 'right_on' who posted his views on conservative website MichelleMalkin.com

“C’mon lefties….where’s the “angry black man” excuses? The man’s a moron,  a multi-millionare, his homey is in the White House, his boy's outta lockup and playing football again, and he’s still unhappy? His Momma's bein’ so proud, yo!”

Another post, this time from 'FireBlogger' on the website seemingly blames Obama for West's behavior.

“After seeing the preferential treatment Professor Gates received from The One or how the MSM ignored Van Jones and the Baltimore ACORN misconduct, who can blame the brother for acting out.  It’s his right and he’s teflon,”

Let's be clear.  In no way am I defending West's actions.  His stunt was embarrassing, rude, shocking,  even unprofessional.  However, to paint the man as a thug is ridiculous.  According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary a thug is a brutal ruffian or assassin.   He made a terrible decision to go on stage, but he didn't physically assualt the woman. 

There are real life thugs that come in all shapes, sizes and races.  For those to attempt to lump all black men together, particularly in an issue that has nothing to do with race shows us perhaps we have not come as far along on race relations as we think.

Some suggest that the same people who want to give West a pass are the same who want to admonish Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) for his “You Lie” moment last week during the President's address to the nation.

There is no comparison between the two.  West is an entertainer who interrupted an awards show.  Wilson is an elected official who interrupted the President of the United States during a joint session of Congress.  Let's get real.

Sadly as some through their computers want to make this incident a race issue,  Swift, has not.  She handled herself with the grace and savy of a seasoned entertainer . Beyonce also deserves credit for allowing Swift to have her moment at the VMA's. 

It is my hope West realizes his behavior at the VMA was unacceptable and becomes a better man for it. 

Written by Lester Holmes

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