Kanye West for President of the United States?
Kanye West’s career trajectory has always been full of the audacious, the memorable, and the newsworthy. His announcement of a presidential bid in 2020 at last year’s MTV Video Music Awards on August 30 was all three, and whether the plan ever comes to be executed, the idea of a Kanye West presidency is the source of excited conversation and conjecture that is beginning to blend the world of Hip-Hop and politics in a way that seeps into other aspects of popular culture.
New Yorker magazine, the 91-year old rag considered by many to the quintessential publication for the cultured and political, has ventured into uncharted territory, making Kanye West the boldest representation of Hip-Hop in its history. The issue last September 14th, features a political cartoon starring Yeezy as not a rapper but a politician deeply entrenched with American political history.
That’s because the cartoon is a joke within a joke, a replica of a historic photograph taken in 1948. In the photograph, President Truman was seen holding up November 3’s Chicago Daily Tribune, which erroneously reported that New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey had defeated the incumbent Truman, marking one of the newspaper’s biggest gaffes in its history (and any newspaper, for that matter).
In the 2015 version created by Barry Blitt, Kanye West is Truman, and the paper’s headline reads “Trump Defeats Kanye,” opting for the rapper’s first name. Because Kanye. The tongue-in-cheek choice for cover artwork by the New Yorker speaks not only to ‘Ye’s status as a pop culture giant, but also to Hip-Hop’s; the music aside, its influence in American politics has always been an important element, but it has certainly edged its way into the forefront as of late.
Kanye West’s image is now forever entwined with one of the most iconic images in history. And it’s not even 2020 yet.
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