After raising eyebrows in a bizarre sit-down with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, iconic rapper and designer Kanye West is expanding his support for Trump and the Republican party by teaming up with Trump ally and conspiracy theorist Candace Owens.
West has designed tee-shirts endorsing a "blexit" (black exit)--or a massive exit of African Americans from the Democratic party. Owens, who is a spokeswoman for the conservative group Turning Point USA, unveiled the shirt last week at the National Black Youth Leadership Summit at the White House.
At long last, https://t.co/nUoq5DBrzU is launched!!! The official Black Exit from the Democrat Party. NO MORE E… https://t.co/M1J5EdGRO1— Candace Owens (@Candace Owens)1540681621.0
.@KanyeWest designed these “Blexit” t-shirts for @RealCandaceO’s new “Blexit” movement. They were handed out at… https://t.co/Eg6Gtit7RQ— Nikki Schwab (@Nikki Schwab)1540678517.0
“Blexit is a renaissance and I am blessed to say that this logo, these colors, were created by my dear friend and fellow superhero Kanye West. [West] has taken one of the boldest steps in America to open a conversation we have needed to have.”
Owens recently received massive backlash for a now-deleted tweet in which she asserted that the bombs delivered to prominent Democrats and media companies were sent by Democrats themselves:
“I’m going to go ahead and state that there is a 0% chance that these ‘suspicious packages’ were sent out by conservatives. The only thing ‘suspicious’ about these packages, is their timing. Caravans, fake bomb threats—these leftists are going ALL OUT for midterms.”
Soon after, Trump fanatic Cesar Sayoc was found to be the sender.
While West has expressed admiration for Donald Trump for almost a year now, his escalation of support for the president with the Oval Office meeting and his efforts to move African Americans from the Democratic party has struck the ire of many.
I am black & I don't know any other black person who gives a damn about what Kanye West designs or thinks...Kanye d… https://t.co/vtx8FFpT3x— Mahogany, MBA (@Mahogany, MBA)1540821686.0
@lovelyti Whats the point of walking away from the plantation just to jump back on the slave ship?— bonecrusher (@bonecrusher)1540779760.0
@NikkiSchwab @kanyewest @RealCandaceO In a word? No. In two words? HELL no.— Jef Vinson (@Jef Vinson)1540756048.0
@USATODAY Poor stooge. He has no idea how he is being used by people who view him as inferior.— BlueJay_NE (@BlueJay_NE)1540808836.0
The release of the shirts marked an array of other reactions as well.
Some thought that - regardless of message - the shirts were bad from a design perspective as well.
@NikkiSchwab @kanyewest @RealCandaceO Wtf is this https://t.co/fNMSyPPrxW— Ian M ➐ (@Ian M ➐)1540797989.0
@NikkiSchwab @kanyewest @RealCandaceO “Designed”? As if the idea wasn’t bad enough, the so called designs are horrendous.— Alynn Tergevorkian (@Alynn Tergevorkian)1540792598.0
@WynandBez69 @NikkiSchwab @kanyewest @RealCandaceO With a design that bad who could tell the #difference? #blexit— CR (@CR)1540756440.0
More importantly, many expressed concern for West's mental health and stability, noting his increasingly erratic behavior.
@washingtonpost Kanye West is bipolar and refuses to take his medication. We shouldn't be listening to any goddamn… https://t.co/vdl7VtL7gf— βετh (@βετh)1540750556.0
@washingtonpost Really, I don't say this lightly. Those who love him need to get him back on his meds. He needs pro… https://t.co/EHGQi1OvPP— Martine Addison (@Martine Addison)1540750623.0
@JimRohde3 @MissBossyBoots_ @tonyschwartz I didnt say Kanye was ill bc he likes Trump. I said listen w caution bc h… https://t.co/U2kwUzyTgP— KMJ 🍀 (@KMJ 🍀)1540792511.0
The Blexit movement tells African Americans that Democrats have enslaved their minds and take their votes for granted. While Democrats can certainly do more to expand their outreach to black Americans and prioritize the fight against institutional racism, many Republicans currently run on the platform of preserving Confederate monuments, expanding discriminatory voter laws, and other positions that disenfranchise communities and people of color.
Next week, we'll know just how effective West's voice was in supporting these efforts.