Kanye West is no stranger to using provocative words and imagery to direct people’s attention toward his music and message. And for the most part, fans have supported his left of center expressions so long as they weren’t personally offensive. But Yeezy may have just crossed that line with the announcement that he’s commissioned Vanessa Beecroft to realize the dream of being a respected fashion designer that he so desperately desires.
Like Ye, it seems Vanessa has a knack for the provocative but when your art is predicated on fetishizing black people and using them as props alongside Anglo-saxons in photos you can make a pretty good guess that black people, save Kanye West, will not be here for it.
Lipstick Alley uncovered a few details about Ms. Beecroft, as reported in a post on Racialicious a few years back, the most shocking of which is the claim that the photographer specifically sought out Sudanese boys to adopt for the purpose of photographing them for an exhibit. As these things often go, a 2008 documentary on the artist revealed a striking disconnect between what Beecroft said her intentions were, which was to begin a “relationship with that country,” and what she actually did: indiscriminately photograph orphan children (sorry “poor creatures”) as if they were inanimate objects, even having some bare all against the wishes of the sisters in the abbey. We’re guessing it was that pushback that brought about her admission that it is “very stressful “to work with Black women. It’s also what made Vulture call the “art star” a “hypocritically self-aware, colossally colonial pomo narcissist.”
And while it would be nice to think Kanye may have been naive to this artist’s past musings, we’re pretty sure if we could find the info, he and all his million dollar resources could have as well. We’re gonna go out on a limb here and assume, much like the pass he gave his French designer friend Jean Touitou for calling his 2015 Fall/Winter collection “Last N*ggas in Paris,” Kanye West does not care about black people. At least not more than he cares about becoming a big name in an industry notorious for shutting out people who look like him, if he didn’t notice. Go figure.