When Ye penned the lines to his 2010 masterpiece "All of the Lights," which is an allegory for fame, the rapper exhibited almost apocryphal vision. He raps of his daughter "her mother, brother, grandmother hate me in that order," and while his daughter at the time seemingly was music and art generally, the lines became even more powerful when Kanye insisted he was blocked from seeing his youngest daughter on her 4th birthday in the midst of his divorce.
Kim and Kanye had an extremely public relationship. Both larger than life figures in their own rights, their union was almost pre-ordained. At first, their personalities did not seem like much of a match, but with time, the centrality of fashion, fame, and wealth to both of their personas seemed to make them the only partner possible for the other. At the same time, Kanye, who hadn't yet dabbled in MAGAism yet, was still known for being a wildcard. There was concern that this marriage (and marriage already a trying endeavor) would prove difficult for Kim.
The Kardashians are really good at divulging just enough to the public to make us feel like we're privy to every aspect of their personal lives. Yet time has shown us that they have repeatedly shrouded the more intimate ongoing of their households for long stretches of time until they became too impossible to hide, like Kylie's pregnancy or Caitlyn's grapplings with her body dysphoria and her trans identity. I think it's likely that the same probably occurred with Kanye, his demands and whims probably put a great deal of pressure on Kim while raising their four kids. However, the audience would rarely see such strain beyond the occasional anecdote like the skin-colored bandaid debacle in the house. I think the situation finally became untenable when Kanye divulged incredibly private information about their child and their marriage to the public.
In fact, I would posit that Kim and Kanye's marriage really met its downfall with Kanye's MAGA-ification. When he donned the red hat, it was as if his body became made of helium which was attached to thousands of strings. On the other end of those strings were his millions of fans, each holding on to him, and each letting go little by little as every individual met their breaking point with Kanye. Kim, for the benefit of her children, likely held on to her string for as long as she possibly could. She said she would always ride for her man, but she probably meant she would ride for him until it became impossible. With Kanye's MAGA transformation, misogyny seemed to become much more central to his character. While he was not winning any sort of feminist intersectionality awards before, his post-Trump behavior took a marked turn towards shaming femininity. From my own limited view here in the news- cycle bleachers, Kanye's divorce is a tale of misogyny and consequences.
Kanye, during his Christian rebranding, which took place in the midst of his Trumpism, joined a long line of misogynistic fathers and husbands. He shamed his wife for her fashion choices and banned his young daughter's use of makeup, thereby making innocent shows of femininity inherently sexual and shameful. Yeezy, who had been previously extremely vocal about the pride he took in Kim's body, found his newfound Christian fervor called him to control that same body. When Kim wanted to wear her very best Met Gala look, Kanye revealed that her iconic and sexy way of dress was hurting his soul. I'm sorry but if you're trying to stifle a woman's sexuality, maybe you never should have partnered with Kim Kardashian.
All of Kanye's misogyny came to a head when he tearfully announced to a group of people that he had originally wanted Kim to abort her pregnancy while she was pregnant with their first daughter. In between sobs, he screamed at fans gathered for a July 2020 rally for his presidential run, "I almost killed my daughter." His cries were at once intense and unnerving, provoking sympathy not because the couple had considered abortion, but because he was sharing such immensely private information. "We love you Kanye" the crowd cooed as he sobbed. These were clearly the musings of a man who was in need of some help and support.
Kim, typically quiet during Kanye's ravings, took to social media to express the difficult ways in which Kanye's mental health struggles would manifest themself. Days later the photos seen 'round the world of Kim crying in a Wyoming parking lot surfaced on the internet. According to my father, that's when he knew their marriage was over. Many wondered if she would file for divorce. Kim answered in a lawsuit for divorce months later in November 2020.
As with so much in his life, Kanye refused to go quiet into that good divorced night. Immediately Kanye began publicly pining for his ex-wife, repeatedly expressing a hope that the two would be reunited as if he could parent trap them, but for himself, a Kanye trap. While in concert with Drake, he made an addition to the lyrics of "Runaway," a song he coined for Amber Rose. Yeezy sang, "Come back to me, more specifically Kimberly." He moved into a house across the street from the one they had shared, and on Valentine's Day 2021, he left a literal truckload of flowers outside of her home with the words wrapped on the side, "My Vision is Krystal Klear." If they were to recast a gender-bending version of Misery, Kanye could be a front-runner for Kathy Bates's character.
While openly pursuing Kim throughout the legal process of their divorce, Kanye caused a great deal of conflict for her, always related to the parenting of their daughters, another form of his misogyny. On Chicago's 4th birthday, Kanye maintained that he had been locked out of her Kardashian-hosted party. As with so much of their marriage, Kanye took to the public, seemingly looking to weaponize public opinion against Kimberly. He insisted they were blocking him from seeing his children. He would later go on to say that the reality-TV moguls were accusing him of being under the influence of substances while around the children and wouldn't allow him around the kids without security present. They in turn insisted it was a miscommunication. I don't know what happened nor do I think conjecturing on what occurred is an exercise worth my energy. The fact remains, Kanye consistently centers his daughters throughout his public conflict with his ex-wife and her well-known family.
Rarely doe Kanye subject his sons to the same type of scrutiny. Prior to his divorce, when he had two kids, he rapped in "No More Parties in LA" that while he was worried about Kim and North, he wasn't worried about Saint. Kanye's misogynistic trends relating to his daughter North, again reared their ugly head when he complained on Instagram about his daughter's use of Tik Tok. North, whom many have jokingly noted seems to have the same endlessly creative brain as her father, has taken to making some very sweet, childlike Tik Tok videos. Any reasonable onlooker would see that the young child was simply flexing her creative muscles and finding fun ways to make cute videos. If I were them, I would smell a film director in the making. Instead, Kanye took public issue with the account owned and monitored by Kim, who has disabled comments. Somehow, North recording videos of her pet lizards posed a dangerous deprivation of Kanye's parental rights. Perhaps even more upsettingly, Kanye posted a screenshot of his daughter from a Tik Tok she had recorded. In the photo, she's blurry and mid-sentence. It's not a great image to share, but it's one he broadcast to millions of followers. Whatever the dangers are posed by Tik Tok and social media use on the part of children, there's a much larger threat of harm to be repeatedly humiliated by your father routinely dragging you into the view of millions in deeply personal ways.
In the midst of publicly fighting with Kim over their kids as if he were playing a game of tug of war over Instagram, Kanye engaged in some real classique hotepery. He complained
that any disagreements he and Kim had over parenting were just another example of Black men being forcibly removed from the homes of their children. Black women refused to be baited. Azealia Banks took to Instagram to condemn Kanye's behavior, to which I say never underestimate the power of an A. Banks girl:
Kanye has also engaged in other extremely misogynistic behavior unrelated to his daughters. He shared a stage with Marilyn Manson and DaBaby, artists who had been accused of sexual assault and overt homophobia respectively. He defended Dave Chappelle (I mean, he is after all the Rap Version of Dave Chappelle) while Chappelle entrenched himself in an unnecessary, one-sided conflict with trans people. He directly targeted Pete Davidson in a myriad of ways while the comedian was dating Kim. Kanye's antagonism of Pete got so bad that Pete had to hire additional security to stave off any fallout from Kanye's behavior.
Kanye rails against order, and the Kardashians are nothing if not orderly. Kris runs a family empire that is measured and maintained down to the color of the heart emojis a member of the FamilyTM posts on Instagram. It should have been no surprise that Kanye would thrash against the confines of the Kardashian machine with such force once it became stifling to his "dragon spirit." However, to pull his children, and more specifically his daughters, into such public turmoil has been really troubling to see as a viewer, knowing how great the potential is for such behavior to traumatize those kids. It's a shame to know that one day, or more likely over a series of days throughout the course of their lives, the West children will have to come to terms with a great deal of disappointing behavior on the part of their father. They will likely have to decide how to proceed in a relationship with a father who can be deeply, horrendously wrong, even when it comes to them, his children.