By Anna Harman
For years, Kanye West has been working on his shoe brand, “Yeezy” with Adidas. Although this partnership has been weakened for a while, recently, conflict arose between West and the company. Adidas reviewed and ended its Yeezy partnership with him.
Kanye West claims Adidas stole his designs for some of his Yeezy shoes. Taking to Instagram to vent his frustrations with the company, he stated “I AM ADIDAS.” While it is no secret that West often presents himself as being immature and short-tempered, he might have reason to be frustrated in this scenario. The shoes he claimed Adidas stole the design for, do somewhat resemble his Yeezy shoes. Adidas said “successful partnerships are rooted in mutual respect and shared values.” They claim they tried to resolve this issue privately with West, but were not successful.
The public and Adidas blasted him for wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt design at Paris Fashion Week. They reviewed their partnership with Kanye West for the Yeezy brand following this incident. The problem is that the Black Lives Matter phrase symbolizes opposition to racism and police brutality, and the phrase “White Lives Matter” seems to oppose this.
West also had a falling out with the fashion chain Gap in September. His lawyers sent the brand a letter saying he would no longer work with them. He said Gap failed to honor the terms of the deal by failing to open standalone stores for his Yeezy fashion label. West blasted the company on social media platforms, claiming Gap was copying his designs, excluding him from meetings, and ignoring his requests to join the board.
Kanye West has been demonstrating chaotic behavior and getting into controversies for years. It’s a part of his brand. If Kanye wasn’t as chaotic, problematic and publicly humiliating, he wouldn’t be talked about as much by our culture. Whether for good or bad reasons, he’s getting publicity and being paid for his behavior.
It’s clear that West isn’t easily pleased with companies he makes deals with. It seems he is always desiring more money, relevance and creative freedom. When he realizes a company isn’t going to let him build his brand in his own way or let him take the reins, he backs off the deal. He is always wanting more, and I think that is both a good and bad thing.
Cedarville junior, Summer Gray said, “Everyone has the right to express their own beliefs and opinions, but that can come at a cost. The fact that they are putting this partnership under advisement and it was their industry’s number one seller is a big deal. His actions don’t reflect the character of Adidas and he had to realize that. He can’t tell them they’re wrong cause they’re not.”
I sometimes wonder if this is all purposeful. Maybe Kanye West isn’t as big of a narcissist as he makes himself out to be in the media. Maybe he is intentionally trying to be relevant, to make a point, and fight for his vision for his brand. We can’t believe everything we’re told about celebrity culture. It’s so corrupt and deceitful, we have to take everything with a grain of salt.
Junior Caleb Cullins says, “If he genuinely believes his ideas are being stolen, there’s no reason he shouldn’t pursue legal action. I think the world focuses on the wrong parts of Kanye’s life, such as his relationship with Kim Kardashian. When he talks about things that really matter, nobody listens.”
West is portrayed as a diva in the media, but he might have a point to his behavior, even if it isn’t the most mature way to get that across. He knows three things to be true about the world today: to be in a position of power requires wealth, you need ownership to have a voice, and an owner cannot be marginalized as easily. He expressed these things clearly in an interview with the radio show The Breakfast Club. Even if you don’t agree with everything Kanye does or says, I think we can acknowledge that there is so much social injustice in our world and that the celebrity industry is corrupt today. Could he be justified in some of his frustrations with his voice being taken away by these popular companies?
Anna Harman is a junior Biblical Studies major and also a reporter for Cedars. She appreciates writing, peppermint tea, flowers, and going to concerts.
Photo Credit: David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en> , via Wikimedia Commons