Kanye West announces 2020 presidential run

Source:Global Times - AFP Published: 2020/7/6 18:03:40

Kim Kardashian (left) and Kanye West Photo: IC

Kanye West, the entertainment mogul who urges listeners in one song to "reach for the stars, so if you fall, you land on a cloud," claimed Saturday he is challenging Donald Trump for the US presidency in 2020.

"We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States! #2020VISION," the born-again billionaire rapper tweeted as Americans marked Independence Day. 

West offered no further details on his supposed campaign, four months before the November election, and it is unclear if he has officially registered to run for office.

Getting political

Hundreds of thousands of Twitter users reacted to the star's announcement and "Kanye" shot to become the top trending term on the platform, although many questioned whether the volatile rapper would go through with his plan and others claimed it was a publicity stunt.

His wife, reality star Kim Kardashian, replied with a US flag emoji, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote: "You have my full support!"

The 43-year-old has mentioned running for president several times and he said in 2019 that he would run for president in 2024. 

West long ago broke ranks with most of the left-leaning entertainment industry to loudly voice his support for Trump.

In 2018, they met in the Oval Office - a surreal tete-a-tete that included a hug from the rapper as well as an on-camera rant featuring an expletive not often repeated for the White House press corps.

Also in 2018, West delivered a lengthy soliloquy to a president who many deem racist, telling him he loved him - to the dismay of many Democrats and fellow artists.

But in 2019, during an interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music's Beats 1 show, he said his support for Trump had been a way to razz Democrats - and announced his own presidential ambitions.

"There will be a time when I will be the president of the US, and I will remember... any founder that didn't have the capacity to understand culturally what we were doing."

It was unclear to whom the artist was referring.

The announcement came days after West, who has taken a very public turn toward Christianity in recent years, released a new song, "Wash Us In the Blood," along with an accompanying video including imagery from recent anti-racism protests.

West has also opened up about his mental health, particularly his struggle with bipolar disorder, telling talkshow host David Letterman he feels like he has "a sprained brain, like having a sprained ankle."

Since 2018, Kardashian has formed her own contacts with the White House as she champions criminal justice reform: She has successfully lobbied Trump to pardon a sexagenarian woman for a nonviolent drug offense.

For weeks now Trump, criticized for his response both to the coronavirus pandemic and to anti-racism protests, has been lagging in the polls behind his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.

There was no immediate response to West's announcement from either candidate Saturday.  

'Nanjing rapper' 

After West announced his presidential bid, Chinese netizens took to social media to discuss the announcement, leading to one comment about the rapper's connection to the city of Nanjing gaining major ground. 

The hashtag "Kanye West announced run for US president" quickly gained 130 million views on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo within a few hours.

Among the many posts about the news, the comment "our Nanjing rapper will run for president of the US" has gone viral itself.

The reason for the comment is that West was once a resident of the East China city.

In 1987, West, then 10 years old, came to live in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, with his mother Donda West. 

His mother was a foreign teacher at Nanjing University, while he studied at the university's affiliated primary school for a year.

Donda talked about her and her son's time in Nanjing in her book Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar, noting that he enjoyed a happy life in China. During his time in the city, he studied Tai Chi, used chopsticks to eat and once break danced for his Chinese friends. 

Kanye West also mentioned in a 2011 interview that China had a big influence on his career, according to a report from Daily Rap Facts.

"I think being in China got me ready to be a celebrity because, at that time, a lot of Chinese had never seen a black person. They would always come up and also stare at me, fishbowl me and everything. And that's kind of the way it is for me right now," he said. 

As the news spread on Chinese social media, jokes and suggestions for the rapper's campaign soon followed. 

"He and his wife Kim Kardashian West should call Trump and record it. He can then produce a song with the lyrics that Trump supports him to be the next president. He can then edit Trump saying 'OK' about releasing it!," one netizen joked, referring to the time that West's wife Kim Kardashian posted a recording of a phone call between the two stars that was edited to make it appear that Swift gave West permission to use the word "bitch" in a song about her. An unedited video of the call later leaked which shows that West had never brought the derogatory term up. 

"He should send a pair of Yeezy shoes to each supporter as a gift," another netizen joked on Sina Weibo.

West once collaborated with Adidas on the release of the Adidas Yeezy Boost in 2015. The 9,000 limited-run shoes sold out within 10 minutes, earning West a new title as a fashion designer.
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