Indiana Daily Student

Finding Yeezus

Kanye West performs at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Kanye West performs at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

I was raised in a virtuous home graced with the vocals of R&B gods. We prayed to Marvin Gaye every morning, the Temptations every night. We had Wednesday bible study with Kool & the Gang and worship every Sunday with Luther Vandross.

I was set on the righteous path to loving R&B and hip-hop early and it looked as though my future would be bright and promising.

But like Eve, I stumbled upon my forbidden fruit and was lured from the holy path into the darkness of angsty alternative rock. It would be years until I saw the light again, and I never thought I’d be brought back by Yeezus himself.

For years I told myself I hated Kanye West.

Given, I had a bad first impression. Though I had been pretending to hate his songs like “Gold Digger” and “Stronger” for years, I didn’t know who Kanye actually was until he interrupted Taylor Swift’s 2009 VMA acceptance speech.

Now I finally had a face to attribute to these songs the scene trend told me I wasn’t allowed to like and all I knew about him was that he was an asshole.

The more I learned about Kanye the worse our relationship became.

I’ve always hated the use of the N-word. Kanye and Jay-Z became the face of advocacy to reclaim the term. What they saw as a way of taking that power away from white people, I saw as an increase in white people using the word. They used Kanye as their “black friend” card.

As far as I was concerned, he was setting us back by decades.

But my biggest reason for hating Kanye had more to do with myself. At 12 years old, I was sporting some serious internal racism and I refused to allow myself to like anything associated with black people. This meant altering what I wore, the way I talked and the music I could listen to.

The devil had me in his grasp and it looked like the end of the line for me.

And then I went to college and met a special group of white people. Like angels they came to me in my time of need and they played the legendary gospel tunes of “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

At first, I refused to listen. I wasn’t ready to be saved yet, and they knew I would have to come to Yeezus at my own time.

Little did we know, that time was approaching.

Sept. 21, 2015 was the day my life changed forever.

I was riding the bus home, and I chose to listen to “Monster.”

I was nodding my head waiting for Nicki Minaj’s verse when I heard the line, “My presence is a present, kiss my ass.”

I replayed the song to hear it again and again, and every time I did the pure exhaustion with human beings emanating from that single line resonated stronger within me. The clouds parted and the sun rained down on me like the grace of God, and I felt at peace for the first time in years as I accepted Yeezus into my heart.

Kanye’s albums are the books of his scripture and when I listened carefully, he had a lot to teach about who he was and also about myself.

Real talk: the confidence Kanye gave me is insurmountable.

I don’t just mean general confidence, which Kanye is the best at teaching. His motto is arrogance over modesty and if you listen to “Last Call” you can’t fault him.

It was the racial confidence he lent me that has made the biggest difference in my life.

Kanye has a strong message of black pride and the way it shaped my racial identity at 21 has me permanently indebted to him.

As progressive as Kanye is, he actually brought me back to my roots. I’m on the righteous path again and I can raise my hands to Marvin and Luther again. So thank you, Yeezus.

Amen.

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