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Are Jews still listening to Kanye West?

Key takeaways: 

  • Many young British Jews have grown up with Kanye West’s tracks. 
  • But many have seen his words about Jewish people as highly offensive.

The US singer, who now runs by the name Ye, has encountered a backlash over a series of messy interviews and antisemitic social media uploads.

He recently lauded Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and was banned from Twitter for a second time after posting a picture showing a logo incorporating a swastika and a Jewish star.

Few Jews, if any, would now hear his political beliefs – and even those who were Kanye fans disagreed over whether to keep listening to his songs.

A reticent listener

“I’m not going to fib; it hurts my heart,” Louis Kay, a part-time song producer from Manchester, reveals to BBC Newsbeat.

“I was a fan of Kanye growing up and admired him as an artist, record maker and fashion architect.

“Now it’s like I’ve got an ex-boyfriend. I have so many joyful memories with him; some of his clothes are just left in my closet. I don’t know what to do with them.”

When West’s Life of Pablo album came out in 2016, Louis was encouraged.

The 22-year-old listened to it that summer while, like many 16-year-olds every year in the UK, he travelled to Israel as part of a Jewish juvenile group.

“But…” he says.

“When you find out your favourite singer is supporting the complete contrary of who you are and bombarding your race, culture, everything about you, it is upsetting.”

Although Louis continues to respect West’s Grammy Award-winning back record, he worries about the effect Ye’s eruptions could have on his community and his industry.

“I’ll keep hearing his songs in the few ways he can’t make any money, just out of interest.”

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