January 16, 2018 / 12:56 pm

‘I Miss The Old Kanye’ Event Celebrated at Willkie Auditorium on MLK Day

People in the town of Bloomington, Indiana took to the streets Monday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as sporadic events took place all across the city, set-up by a variety of organizations.

One of these activist groups by the name of CommUNITY Educators whose sole purpose includes social justice, diversity, and inclusion arranged an event relating two unsuspecting cultural icons of color — the civil rights leader of the 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and hip-hop cultivator, Kanye West.

Event organizers intended to start a dialogue and bring together a room full of people who were in some shape or form, inspired by Kanye West. Clips were shown of West’s music videos, poetry readings, and the infamous video of West with Mike Meyers, discussing the subject of hurricane relief on NBC, when Kanye said that George Bush does not care about black people. The Willkie Auditorium, filled with about 100 people, lit-up with laughs.

Conversations buzzed throughout the room — varying from lighthearted to serious tones in conversations about social justice, tying the two black leaders with their messages to society.

“Kanye uses the human voice as an instrument,” said Kaleb Edwards, a sophomore biology student from Indianapolis. “Like Martin Luther King, he just wanted to get a message out there.”

When the doors opened for the event and attendees walked in the auditorium, about a dozen tables were arranged, each labeled with a subject of conversation. For example, one table was labeled with a folded black sheet of paper, lined with the white-bolded words ‘Generational Wealth / New Money.’

Each chair at the round tables had small cut-outs of song titles and a verse from the song accompanying it. One seat available for a certain guest had a paper cut-out with the song title, “Good Life” and featured the verse, “The good life, let’s go on a living spree. Shit, they say the best things in life are free.”

Crayola markers sat on the round table, scattered. Directions were given to write, draw and express one’s thoughts based on the messages written on the butcher paper.

One student wrote, “When it comes to the idea of being happy and living life, we have the notion that you need a great amount of money to do so, but this line shows that even Kanye sees that the best parts of life are free.”

Kanye West, famed for his raw, Chicago sound he produced by sampling 70s Midwest soul records and speeding them up — earned his signature sound the nickname, ‘chipmunk soul.’

West pioneered a movement within the genre of hip-hop, similar to the “hip-hop love” movement of the late 80s led by artists like De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and Queen Latifah.

What distinguished Mr. West from other independent movements before him within the realm of hip-hop, is his ability to capture the hearts and minds of the mainstream, rather than simply in indie circles. As a matter of fact, he is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time.

Like Dr. King who preached a peaceful solution to the demands of the Civil Rights Movement, Kanye West fought for civil rights using art and cultural credibility as his platform, or at least, sources say, he used to.

“My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is probably one of the best albums ever recorded,” said freshman Dash Yarnold. However, Yarnold said he didn’t like his latest album, The Life of Pablo. By all means, Yarnold said he misses the old Kanye.