This week, Twitter users saw the nearly decade-old feud between Kanye West and Taylor Swift reignited. While most of us agree that this issue is really the least of our concerns during this time of actual global crisis, the two superstars decided to continue their stale dialogue of truth, lies and power. The truth is, the feud between West and Swift will never end. They need each other, and this tension serves as the perfect platform for both to continue to spread their images and mobilize their fan bases.
First there is West, who has built a career on great music and an insatiable appetite for public controversy. Since his debut in 2004 with his album "College Dropout," West has taken aim at many different public figures. Notably, he has ranted about Amber Rose, George W. Bush and even Jay-Z . Furthermore, as the objective quality of his music has declined West has maintained his public spotlight by deeply associating with the frivolous industry of celebrity controversy and drama. His marriage to Kim Kardashian has cemented him to the drama mill by proxy, and his erratic antics have become almost as influential as his music. With all that being said, the obvious conclusion is: there is no Kanye without drama.
West's brand isn’t rapper. Rather, he wants to be seen as a 21st century prophet. He has created an image that hinges on being controversial. Those who align with or understand what he spews are die-hard fans, and in his mind, those who don’t are just not on the right level. As a self-proclaimed prophet, West needs powerful forces to go up against.
This is where Swift comes in. Like West, Swift gains from controversy. She can’t be a victim without and an oppressive power, and Swift is the ultimate martyr. Swift is far from perfect, she has made countless public missteps that directly conflict with the causes she claims to support. She stayed silent during the 2016 election, she touted her girl squad as a feminist powerhouse even though it consisted pretty much solely of wealthy models, and created the epitome of Colonial African romanticism with her “Wildest Dreams” video. However, even with all of this she has maintained her status as an inclusive champion for women.
I would argue that she has West to thank for her spot on a pedestal. He is the perfect match to Swift’s victim mentality. They have practically opposite appeals; Kanye is a black rapper from inner-city Chicago with music that focuses on sex, power, faith and getting rich while Swift is a squeaky-clean country pop star from white suburbia who releases mega-hits with the thin messaging of white feminism. Their public feud is the perfect fodder for Swift to continue to play feminist victim, and her superstar status is just the level of famous opponent West wants to fight with.
The truth is, neither of these stars can let this feud die. Without it, they lose a powerful example of an important part of their image and messaging. So, although this feud is really the least of anyone’s concern, it will never end. And no matter what Swift or West says, I would argue they really don’t want it to.
This is the opinion of Alyssa Story, a freshman film, television and media studies and journalism double major from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Tweet comments to @LALoyolan or email email@example.com.