Arts & Entertainment, Kanye, & Trump
by Paul Szep, Pulitzer Prize-winning artist

There’s nothing original in this tale and there’s ample evidence, beyond West, that humans were not built to withstand the weight of celebrity. But for black artists who rise to the heights of Jackson and West, the weight is more, because they come from communities in desperate need of champions. Kurt Cobain’s death was a great tragedy for his legions of fans. Tupac’s was a tragedy for an entire people. When brilliant black artists fall down on the stage, they don’t fall down alone. – Ta-Nehisi Coates [The Atlantic]

YOU NEED not look any further than “Roseanne” to see what the Trump era has influenced. It puts new meaning to the words “target audience.”

Then Kanye West twirled into the President’s orbit.

Much of America had already reached maximum tolerance to Trump, with Kanye’s insufferable slavery belch the last…

Michael Che, SNL co-head writer and co-host of “Weekend Update,” simply said, “Pass.” He declined to say a word. The studio audience went wild.

Ta-Nehisi Coates weighs in and lays waste.

What Kanye West seeks is what Michael Jackson sought—liberation from the dictates of that we. In his visit with West, the rapper T.I. was stunned to find that West, despite his endorsement of Trump, had never heard of the travel ban. “He don’t know the things that we know because he’s removed himself from society to a point where it don’t reach him,” T.I. said. West calls his struggle the right to be a “free thinker,” and he is, indeed, championing a kind of freedom—a white freedom, freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant; freedom to profit off a people in one moment and abandon them in the next; a Stand Your Ground freedom, freedom without responsibility, without hard memory; a Monticello without slavery, a Confederate freedom, the freedom of John C. Calhoun, not the freedom of Harriet Tubman, which calls you to risk your own; not the freedom of Nat Turner, which calls you to give even more, but a conqueror’s freedom, freedom of the strong built on antipathy or indifference to the weak, the freedom of rape buttons, pussy grabbers, and fuck you anyway, bitch; freedom of oil and invisible wars, the freedom of suburbs drawn with red lines, the white freedom of Calabasas.

It would be nice if those who sought to use their talents as entrée into another realm would do so with the same care which they took in their craft. But the Gods are fickle and the history of this expectation is mixed. Stevie Wonder fought apartheid. James Brown endorsed a racist Nixon. There is a Ray Lewis for every Colin Kaepernick, an O.J. Simpson for every Jim Brown, or, more poignantly, just another Jim Brown. And we suffer for this, because we are connected. Michael Jackson did not just destroy his own face, but endorsed the destruction of all those made in similar fashion.

Michelle Wolf managed to turn the White House Correspondents Association dinner into a revelatory embarrassment when the host organization couldn’t stand by their First Amendment pledge, offering a lame-ass lament on the inappropriateness of a blunt, rough and raunchy female comedienne delivering a stand-up routine that was raunchy, rough, and blunt.

Stephen Colbert is a nightly tonic, to which he’s added a cartoon of Trump as POTUS on Showtime.

The list goes on and on… This season of “Homeland.”

There is Alec Baldwin as President Trump on SNL.

Only in the Trump era would the exclamation on top of the presidential reality channel we’re all watching be an adult film actress and producer named Stormy Daniels.

“A storm’s a-comin’, baby” – Stormy Daniels