'I Miss the Old Kanye’: Keeping Up with Kanye, Kim, and President Donald Trump

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter uses the analytical concept of complicity as a way of navigating controversial rapper and designer Kanye West. In doing so, the chapter examines the intersections of race, celebrity and mental illness, and ultimately puts forth a complex picture of political engagement in the Trump-Brexit era. As well as looking at West’s political forays – which begin during the presidency of George W. Bush, continue through the Obama administration, and climax in his very public support for Donald Trump – the chapter will touch upon the political action of West’s wife, Kim Kardashian. In Season 15, Episode 16 of reality TV juggernaut Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the famous family acknowledge Kanye West’s widely publicised comments regarding slavery. In the same episode, we follow Kim Kardashian as she meets with President Trump in a successful attempt to free Alice Johnson from prison. In dealing with both incidents in the same episode, the family aim to mitigate West’s actions by foregrounding Kim’s progressiveness. However, neither of these incidents are framed as being explicitly political, and are rather presented as reflections of individual personality and circumstance. West presents his support of Donald Trump as resistance, particularly because, as an African-American man, he is expected to oppose the regularly racist president. This chapter considers whether Kanye fails to resist, and does so by contemplating his position within the Kardashian family and his conception of himself as a non-conformist
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResist!: Protest Media and Popular Culture in the Brexit-Trump Era
Subtitle of host publication(Experiments/On the Political)
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRowman & Littlefield
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781786615725
ISBN (Print)9781786615701, 9781786615718
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 14 Sept 2020


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