Kanye West wants to live in a multiplicity of identities, but the world wants him to be one-dimensional.
Mr. West, I hope this message reaches you in good spirits. Though I’m not you’re biggest fan, nor do I attend any of your concerts, I’ve watched you closely over the last couple of years struggle to get your true voice heard and whole self seen, and I’d like to help you.
I don’t want anything from you Mr. West; no money, no selfies and no parties where I get to show up as your plus one. I truly just want to help you translate your story and goals so that world can understand and appreciate your genius the way I do. I’ve been where you are and I know how it feels to be painted into a box; not allowed to blossom into anything but what you already are.
Growing up, I played drums on anything and everything: my first time on a real drum set was on a Sunday afternoon at Philly’s legendary Uptown Theater in the early 90’s. Since that moment, drums became my world and I wanted nothing more than to become a famous drummer. That dream quickly changed in 2009 when I founded a content company named Techbook Online, which now reaches up to 100 million people a month across channels and platforms with original stories of impact, issue, inspiration and innovation.
I discovered my real passion: storytelling. Drumming complimented my work perfectly, but it didn’t define me, and that’s what I couldn’t get people to understand. Like you Mr. West, I acknowledged myself as a creative genius, but most people just reduced me to a “beast” on the drums. It seems I could only be a good drummer, not a great storyteller.
I began to be crushed from the weight of my own creativity, and no one would help me carry the load, but they would if was a bass drum, you know what I mean? People wanted me to do what they wanted me to do, and that’s what I see in you, Mr. West.
I think you are a genius and there’s nothing wrong with that, in fact it should be celebrated. Like you Mr. West, there are countless of black men who are boundless and exist in a multiplicity of identities, yet the world is determined to view them as one-dimensional and monolithic.
I am determined to break that stereotype and show the world that we, black men, can excel at anything we decide to do, whether it’s content production, music, theater or authoring books.
At one point in my life Techbook Online couldn’t compete with the Flood the Drummer persona I created. I had to fight for people to see me as more than just a drummer. I wanted to be perceived as an artist and polymath, and dammit, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Mr. West, I support your desire to be better than you were yesterday. You’ve exceeded the expectations many had for you in the rap industry and now, if you want, you should do whatever makes you happy.
If that’s fashion, creating content or just being the most eccentric individual in the world, I encourage you to live in your truth.
In closing, I personally invite you to visit Philly to meet me and other black male geniuses who will add value to your life and not take anything from it.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
Photo: AP/Shaun Mader/Patrick McMullan/Sipa