Kanye West has defended the legacy of Michael Jackson, emphasising that “companies” and “documentaries” should not have the power to.
As part of his cover feature for i-D Magazine, Pharrell Williams interviewed contemporary Kanye West about their respective creative ventures and the power of community.
During the interview, West referenced the Dan Reed-directed Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland. A two-part exposé that delved into the sexual abuse experienced by Wade Robson and James Safechuck at the hands of Michael Jackson.
West praised Williams, comparing him to Michael Jackson groundbreaking career: “It felt like you really tore down the walls and the doors much like Michael Jackson did a generation before, and in a way, he’s very similar to Michael Jackson, in the ways where Michael Jackson was doing covert, super gangsta stuff, like he’d just pop the needles off,” said West.
Kanye continued to rattle off a bunch of Jackson’s achievements.
“He kissed Elvis Presley’s daughter on MTV. Black culture used to be… we used to be fronting all night, but Michael was doing stuff that was different to what we were programmed to understand as being what we should do. He bought The Beatles’ back catalogue. That was Mike Jackson, right there,” he continued.
“We should have something that says we can’t allow any company to tear down our heroes. Not on The Shade Room, not on social media and especially not in documentaries.
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“I’m like every time the media isn’t happy with me it’s like, ‘Here they go. They’re gonna come and Wacko Jacko me.’ Which in some ways, they’ve tried to do.”
Last week it was revealed that West donated $2 million to the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, victims who were murdered at the hands of police brutality.
A representative for West told Variety that the rapper — who was recently topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid musicians — donated $2 million to various charities aimed to support the families.
In addition to this, Kanye West made a separate donation to assist covering the legal costs for Arbery and Taylor’s family. He also established a 529 education plan to cover college tuition for Gianna Floyd — daughter of George Floyd.
West’s donation comes following several other notable artists including The Weeknd, Drake, Bon Iver and other musicians donating funds towards non-profit organizations and other groups aimed to provide financial help to the families of the victims, and to support the Black Lives Matter movement.