Cornel West: Kanye West Needs To Get Off ‘Symbolic Crack Pipe,’ BHM Already About The Future

Cornel West: Kanye West Needs To Get Off ‘Symbolic Crack Pipe,’ BHM Already About The Future


Cornel West speaks at Arizona State University in Tempe, Jan. 26, 2018 (Gage Skidmore, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/)

Former Harvard University Professor Cornel West has a few thoughts on hip-hop artist Kanye West’s attempt to rename Black History Month “Black Future Month.” Kanye apparently feels there is too much emphasis on the past and slavery during February and wants Black people to be more forward-thinking. But Cornel West says the hip-hop mogul is way off the mark.

On Instagram, Ye announced, “FEBRUARY IS NOW BLACK FUTURE MONTH”… instead of BHM. Ye has spoken about his idea before.

During his appearance on Drink Champs in late 2021, he spoke about his thoughts on changing the name of Black History Month. “I need Black Future Month. I need Black Possibility Month,” Yeezy said. “I’m tired of seeing us getting hosed-down. I’m tired of talking about slavery.”

When asked by TMZ about Ye’s declaration, Cornel West said, “I always wondered whether that brother was my cousin or not.” He described Kanye as “a genius in a way, but he’s confused in a whole lot of ways, too.”

He said Ye is “wrong” about Black History Month, however.

Dr. West joked, “Kanye’s wrong. Kanye should recognize, as an artist, that every performance is the authorizing of a future in the midst of a present trying to recover the best of the past.” The professor of African and African American studies resigned from Harvard in 2021, accusing the school of “intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of deep depths.” 

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“Black History Month is not about the past. It’s about the past in the present that can authorize a better future, and you get that in Kanye’s music, but you don’t get it in his rhetoric,” Cornel West said.

Although he was critical of Ye’s attempt to rebrand BHM, Cornel West praised Ye’s music: “There’s a sense in which his artistry is so much more profound than his rhetoric.”

But then he joked, “So Kanye thinks you can have Black Future Month without having a Black History Month. Tell that brother to get off the symbolic crack pipe and be true to his own artistic genius!”

Black History Month is “required because white supremacy is still operating,” Dr. West noted.

Some on Twitter agreed with Dr. West.

“Ye and TPain want to abolish Black History Month, they said to forget about the past. Ok we will forget about your history too,” tweeted Ms Loops- Vegas Made (@LovelyVegas28).

Photo: Dr. Cornel West speaks at the Conference on the State of the African-American Professoriate, 2002. AP Photo/Rich Schultz