Kanye West received both plaudits and criticism on Tuesday when he released a powerful new single about racism and faith a day after congratulating his wife Kim Kardashian on what he said was her billionaire status.
West was slammed on social media for touting his family’s wealth in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has seen more than 36 million Americans lose their jobs.
Hours later, he released the emotional single and video “Wash Us in the Blood,” that blended references to religion and systemic racism in the United States with imagery from recent protests about deaths of Black people at the hands of police.
Some critics called the release, featuring Travis Scott, West’s best music in years.
The video, by Arthur Jafa, shows clips of police interrogations, racial profiling, clips of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor
In the song Kanye concludes, “Whole life being thugs / No choice, selling drugs / Genocide, what it does / Slavery, what it does,” signalling that even the violence and crime within the Black community is a result of all the genocide, slavery and oppression that the community has suffered through the years since the very beginning. Travis Scott criticises the death penalty with the verse “Thirty states still execute / thou shalt not kill”.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper said West’s latest release was an “intensely potent study of race and faith” that presented an “apocalyptic vision of America.”
The single is from West’s upcoming album “God’s Country.”
On Monday, after cosmetics company Coty Inc bought a 20% stake in Kardashian’s KKW line that valued the make-up brand at $1 billion., Kanye tweeted that he was “so proud of my beautiful wife Kim Kardashian West for officially becoming a billionaire.”
I am so proud of my beautiful wife Kim Kardashian West for officially becoming a billionaire
You’ve weathered the craziest storms and now God is shining on you and our family
So blessed this is still life
So I made you this still life
We love you so much pic.twitter.com/Vvtgzodnah
— ye (@kanyewest) June 30, 2020
“You’ve weathered the craziest storms and now God is shining on you and our family,” he added.
Forbes on Tuesday estimated Kardashian’s net wealth after the Coty deal at $900 million.
“We all share your joy, Kanye – this is EXACTLY the news everyone wanted as the world is being ravaged by a global pandemic & economic disaster,” British television presenter Piers Morgan tweeted in response to West’s congratulatory post.
West, whose own net wealth is estimated by Forbes at $1.3 billion, last week struck a 10-year deal with Gap for a new line based on his Yeezy leisure clothing brand.