Rapper Kanye West is under fire today for claiming that he has contributed more to the cause of civil rights than icons Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.
In an interview with WJLB radio in Detroit this morning, the controversial rapper said that his work in music and fashion design have single-handedly inspired millions to overcome discrimination and poverty.
In the studio to promote his new single “Niggaz in Davos,” West was asked about his recent comments on racism in the music and fashion industries, in which he referred to his career as a “civil rights movement.”
“Kanye, you’ve had a fantastic career in music and you’re certainly an example of a successful black man in America,” the host started, “but you wouldn’t compare yourself to Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks would you? Surely you realize that you’re primarily an entertainer, right?”
“I’m much more important than Rosa Parks,” West responded. “What was she fighting for? The best seat on the bus? I’m fighting for something bigger than that. I’m trying to bring opportunity to all black people by way of example through the power of my excellence, you know?
“I’ve inspired millions though my music. Without my lyrics black people would be nothing, they’d be stuck back in the projects. I’ve been doing this for ten years, and now look what’s happened: we got black lawyers, black doctors, black architects and black water bottle designers. And it’s all thanks to my inspiration.”
Beautiful Dark Twisted Ego
Rosa Parks was a leading figure in the 1960s Civil Rights movement who is most notable for her protest of the segregated busing policy of Birmingham, Ala. Her refusal to give up her seat to a white man served as an inspiration to blacks in the South fighting discriminatory segregation laws.
Although lionized as a hero by much of America, West argued in today’s shocking interview that Parks’ courage and influence paled in comparison to his own.
“When one of my fans designs a building, for example, there’s a piece of me that goes into that,” he continued. “I inspired that with my music. I created the creativity that helped create that design, you know? Rosa Parks never had that. Rosa Parks is nothing compared to me. I’m a mutherf*****g rock star.
“Now Martin Luther King is different. He actually achieved some important things. But nevertheless his contributions don’t measure up to mine. I was the first black man to ever pitch an Italian designer leather jogging pants. I was the first black man to give Anna Wintour head in exchange for a photo spread. And I was the first black man to design a 100 percent all-leather water bottle shaped like the head of a penis.
‘But did any of this brilliance turn me into a fashion superstar? No. And do you know why? Because the fight for equality and justice isn’t over. Only when internationally respected luxury brands agree to endorse my product ideas will racism truly be defeated.”
Asked for comment after the interview, a publicist for West said that the rapper has “enormous respect for Mrs. Parks and Dr. King and didn’t mean to suggest otherwise.” She also noted that West has made a $10,000 donation to the Rosa Parks Foundation.