BY: Hannah Jones
On Thurs Oct. 11, rapper Kanye West visited President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
During his visit to the White House the two discussed workforce training programs, sentencing reforms, and African-American employment. Part of the meeting was televised live.
“I feel that the media is playing this up too much,” said junior Delaney Lynch. “Kanye’s rant was meaningless and he should keep his opinions to himself.”
Senior Cristina Garelli also felt that the media is playing up the meeting too much.
“I think that the meeting is being played out too much by the media,” said Garelli. “Other topics should be focused on rather than Kanye West having lunch with our president.”
Freshman Sean Young does not understand why the media is obsessing over West meeting Trump.
“Presidents in the past have met with celebrities to discuss important problems in the world, I don’t understand why everyone is obsessing so much over Kanye,” said Young.
In addition, some students felt that it was not the visit that made people upset, but the timing.
“Trump met with Kanye during Hurricane Michael,” said Lynch. “Parts of Florida were wrecked and he spent his time having lunch with someone of no relevance, Kanye West.”
Young said, “I feel like Trump should have put the people first and focused on helping those who just had everything destroyed.”
Recently, West has not been the only celebrity to involve themselves in politics. On Oct. 7, Taylor Swift made headlines for endorsing Democratic candidate Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee.
In an Instagram post, she encouraged her followers to go out and vote. According to Billboard.com, after Swift’s Instagram announcement, voter registration significantly increased.
“She did what she did because she wanted to,” said junior Cooper Clark. “She wanted to help him and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.”
Professor Gary Rose, Chair of the Department of Government, Politics and Global Studies said, “We have free speech in this country and the more voices that are heard the better it is for our country. Celebrities, regardless of their political persuasion, have the right like anyone else to express their political views.”
Other students feel Swift’s endorsement was out of spite towards West. “The two have always had tension,” said Lynch. “Ever since the VMAs in 2009, they have lost respect for one another.”
On Sept. 30, West was the season opener for Saturday Night Live. For one of his performances, West wore a “Make America Great Again” hat.
People Magazine reported that the rapper had said, “Black man in America, you’re supposed to keep what you feel inside right now. And the liberals bully you and tell you what you can and cannot wear, where you and they can’t not stare. And they look at me and say, ‘It’s not fair. How the hell did you get here?’” West also claimed that he was “bullied backstage” with production staff saying, “Don’t go out there with that hat on.”
“I do not think that Kanye should be ashamed of wearing a hat in support of Trump,” said senior Anastasia Maynos. “Everyone is told to fight for what they believe in. He is speaking for the way he feels, there should be nothing wrong with that.”
“We are lucky to live in a country that allows us to have free speech and our own beliefs,” said Maynos.
Junior David Gautieri said, “I don’t think he should be criticized for supporting someone who has the support of millions of others, that alienates half of the country.”
Students feel that different media outlets portray West and Trump’s encounter differently. “The media is completely against Trump,” said Garelli. “On networks such as MSNBC and CNN, Trump and Kanye are portrayed negatively. However, if you watched Fox News, they are portrayed positively.”
“His views are important and it’s beneficial to invite him to the White House. I viewed the visit as constructive,” said Rose.