n 2018, various journalists wanted to talk to me about a couple of tweets I'd posted in favor of Kanye West. They couldn't seem to believe that I supported his “crazy” feed, especially when he said he liked Trump, and couldn't fathom why I tweeted “Hail Kanye!” in response to his weird blend of transparent prophet and calculated p.r. prankster.
I'd known Kanye since 2013, when out of the blue he texted me to ask if I'd like to work on a movie idea of his. We'd never met, but I was intrigued enough to go see him in a private wing of Cedars Sinai in LA the day after his first child had been born. We spent four hours there talking about the movie project and a wide range of subjects — everything from Yeezus to porn to “The Jetsons” — until Kim Kardashian came out of her room cradling their newborn North. This seemed the time for me to excuse myself, though it also seemed that Kanye wanted me to stay indefinitely, even offering me a Grey Goose that he was pouring out of a magnum as I prepared to leave.
Since then I'd worked with him on a few complicated and strange projects for film, TV and video that mostly never happened, yet because of all this I kept up with him on social media and now found myself reacting to his amazing stream-of-conscious thoughts on his Twitter page in the weeks before the release of his new record — just like hundreds of thousands of other followers.
These tweets were a reminder of why I liked Kanye: They were sweet and mysterious, dumb and profound, funny and playful, part absurdist stunt as well as a genuine reflection of where Kanye West was in that moment. And at one point during the Twitter-storms he mentioned that he loved Trump and admired his “dragon energy,” which he suggested he and the president shared. But this admiration was nothing new, since he'd said as much when he imploded with a rant at a concert in San Jose the week after Trump won — and told the audience, “If I would've voted, I would've voted for Trump.”
On top of all this, he was one of the only celebrities to visit the president in Trump Tower after the election. All of this was pure Kanye, obsessed with showbiz and spectacle and power — and to some of us his honesty had always been hypnotizing and inspiring. But the left acted like horrified schoolteachers, lecturing us that what he'd tweeted was very, very bad; that nobody should listen to him; that he should apologize so we all could forgive him for a narrative in which he — a black man — supported a racist and was therefore racist himself.