A radio station in Detroit has come up with a proactive way to address Kanye West’s series of off-the-cuff remarks this week: boycott his music.
The #muteKanye movement started as a stunt on 105.1 The Bounce’s morning show, where hosts Bigg and Shay Shay told their listeners that they planned to avoid playing any songs in which West was so much as featured.
“He has a huge platform, and I just think that’s reckless,” Shay Shay said of the musician’s string of head-turning remarks this week, which included claiming slavery was a “choice” for black Americans and questioning the importance of civil rights-era leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
“I mean, you’re basically saying history is irrelevant,” Shay Shay continued.
The hosts then pulled a producer on the air, “the boss man,” who told them that if listeners agreed, the entire station would consider banning West’s music. The calls began pouring in.
“Mute that clown!” one said. It appeared that a majority of listeners were on board. The anger that West had touched off was palpable in the calls.
“I don’t want Kanye speaking for my people,” one caller from Detroit said. “He doesn’t have the right. He doesn’t have the education if you ask me. … If you agree with what Kanye said, go to Kanye’s radio station.”
Another, from Wixom, Mich., agreed.
“He has a huge platform! He can influence our youth,” she said. “They could think, ‘Oh, Malcolm X was never a big deal because Kanye said so.’ It’s extreme what he’s doing. He’s polluting the minds of younger people.”
West’s latest uproar-igniting turn in the spotlight began last week with an endorsement of President Trump — “we are both dragon energy” — but didn’t fully crest until the rapper went on TMZ this week to issue his remarks about slavery, drawing a rebuke from the show’s Van Lathan.
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years?” West said. “That sounds like a choice. Like, you was there for 400 years, and it’s all of y’all? It’s like we’re mentally in prison.”
Of Malcolm X and King Jr., he said that “certain icons are just too far in the past and not relatable, and that’s what makes them safe.”
On Thursday on 105.1 the Bounce, producer John Candelaria was won over at some point in the day by his hosts and agreed to approve the ban stationwide, the Detroit News reported.
“We feel like Kanye has gone too far with his latest statement declaring that ‘slavery was a choice,’ ” the morning show hosts posted on the station’s Facebook page. “We are over it. We don’t want to hear Kanye’s music; we don’t want to play Kanye on our show; we don’t want to talk about Kanye anymore. So we are taking a stand, and we aren’t playing his music anymore; we just are refusing to give him a platform.”
One caller noted that it was a slippery slope to start banning musical artists — would they consider banning Chris Brown and R. Kelly over allegations of misconduct toward women?
The host Bigg told the Detroit News that the boycott and show segment had driven one of the largest responses from listeners he’d ever witnessed in 20 years working in radio.
“It’s very overwhelming right now,” he said. “I’m just trying to keep up. Lots of people in support, but the people that aren’t are taking personal jabs. Weird.”