My dad was a genius. This doesn’t come from an “I’m a daddy’s girl and I think my dad is superman” syndrome. He was a bona fide, took his ass to college at 16, taking appliances apart for sport, reading and critiquing Socrates at age 10 type of genius. His dad, my Grandfather, beat his ass for it for the first half of his life because the last thing a Texan man, who wears overalls, drives a pick-up truck, and eats onions like apples wants is some kid who’d rather figure out the velocity of a thrown football than to actually throw a football. Genius was a misunderstood waste of time to my pull yourself up by your bootstraps Southern grandpa.
Later in life, my dad’s extraordinary brain was appreciated and lauded; he did groundbreaking things in math and the computer industry (when only the government had computers). But the burden of having such a brain still left him somewhat beaten. I’d often wake up to “take a tinkle” in the middle of the night and find him unhappily awake. His brain wouldn’t shut off—even after medicating himself with his self-prescribed sleeping aid—weed and his purple bong.
It’s understandable that he self-medicated. Many geniuses do. Seeing the world differently than everybody else must be challenging, particularly because their different perspective and way of navigating in the world must be fatiguing. And geniuses are weird. So much of their brains are monopolized by being so incredibly brilliant at a particular subject or skill, that other areas of functionality suffer. Think about outstanding musicians, inventors and computer gurus you know of — they are . . . “different.”
Due to my love and understanding of my genius Daddy, I’d always attempted to be especially protective of Kanye. He’s brilliant which has made me more forgiving of his peculiar behavior over the years. Then when he lost his mother, my empathy heightened. I was crazy for a bit after my mom died too. But now, he done ran out faster than a paycheck in December. Dat negro is just plain cray-cray.
Kanye has always been a bit embarrassing—but in the drunk uncle type of way: coming out his mouth wrong at inappropriate times and showing absolutely no regard for etiquette; but folks were cool with him because he said the things many of us felt. He was like our drunk Uncle K, who would blurt out at Thanksgiving dinner — that he couldn’t understand how Aunt Tish was so religious and could have 4 baby daddies. We oftentimes have agreed with him: his words, but not his delivery. When he interrupted a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser to say that George Bush didn’t care about Black people; or when he jumped on the stage to say that Beyonce should’ve won over Taylor Swift — many of us agreed with him.
He, over the years, has made us both cringe and low-key applaud his arrogance—he has been the quintessential “uppity negro”, spouting out things such as: Whoa by 50 percent [I am more influential than] Stanley Kubrick, Apostle Paul, Picasso… f****** Picasso and Escobar. By 50 per cent more influential than any other human being.’ my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.’
There was a little satisfaction in seeing a Black man say boldly, “I’m brilliant. I’m the greatest.” His thesis to the White world could be summarized as “deez nuts.”
And Kanye’s music was freakin’ inspired. We’ve got to give him props for lyrics like:
Drug dealer buy Jordans, crackhead buy crack / And a white man get paid off of all of that. And , how about: She got a light skinned friend look like Michael Jackson / Got a dark skinned friend look like Michael Jackson. But lately he’s had more hysterics than hits. When was the last time he made good music?
And then there was his seemingly ‘homeless-inspired” clothing line, public beef with Amber Rose, his marriage to Kim Kardashian, and telling the world that he is 53 million dollars in debt (you know Black folks don’t share their money woes publicly). When he said that Keeping Up With the Kardashians should have won an Emmy by now, we knew that he was the one who flew over the Cuckoo’s nest.
But this latest bull-shiggity that he said: ‘I told you I didn’t vote. But I didn’t tell you… if I would’ve voted, I would’ve voted on Trump. [His] approach was absolutely genius because it worked.’has me thinking that he is no longer the Uncle that says crazy ish at the Thanksgiving table, but he is the uncle that we just need to bring a plastic plate wrapped in aluminum foil to the home for “special people.”
We miss you Uncle K.