Monday, October 18, 2010

Walmart Bans Kanye West's New Album Cover

Let me start off by saying that given Walmart's business practices, it has no business declaring anything obscene. From the way it treats its workers both domestic and abroad, its entire existence is an offense to the poor and working class.

Kanye released a new CD and Walmart decided to ban it.

West registered his discontent via twitter.
So Nirvana can have a naked human being on they cover but I can't have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings.
I don't agree that this is simply an image of a monster.  It very much plays upon the way in which inter-racial sexual interactions are viewed.  Many White women are considered to have a spoiled identity the moment they enter into a sexual relationship with a Black man.  I also think the image of the Black man as a monster with sharp teeth indicates something savage.  It's almost as though he is ready to consume the woman.  This is not the first time West has used problematic imagery to illustrate the relationship between Black men and White women.  Given his little stunt with Taylor Swift, and the resulting fall out, I am surprised that he would choose this direction again.


While I think that this image is problematic for many reasons, I don't believe that it deserves to be banned.  I am sure that Walmart is worried about maintaining is family image, but if it were really concerned about families, it would pay its workers a living wage.  In the end, Walmart like any other business can choose to sell what it wants and though this might hurt Kanye economically, I don't believe that he chose this image without knowing that it was controversial.  Sometimes taking a risk does not result in the reward that one hopes.

What do you think about the cover and do you believe it should have been banned?