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Kanye West on Hip-Hop, Fashion, and Racism

Kanye West interview: 'I have driven my Truman Show boat into the painting'

Kanye West launched an excoriating attack on racism across culture – in fashion, theatre, film and music – in an interview with Radio 1's Zane Lowe on Monday night. Focusing on his desire to expand beyond music, he said: "I have driven my Truman Show boat into the painting. I have hit a glass ceiling." West said creative Black people were allowed their "best perspective on T-shirts. But if it's anything else, your Truman Show boat is hitting the wall." In an extraordinary interview, sometimes humorous and sometimes vituperative, West returned again and again to those who would thwart his desires to expand way beyond music, and to pointing out that Black people are routinely denied the opportunities granted to White people.

He said he might discuss ideas of theatrical production, as practiced in the Watch the Throne stage show, in interviews, only to be ignored – then a week later see an interview with White cultural figure in which the same ideas were discussed and endorsed. "I look round the room and there is no one here who looks like me," he told Lowe. "And if there is, they are keeping quiet."

He also castigated those who have set ideas about what a Black cultural figure should be, specifically referring to the song I Am a God, from his most recent album Yeezus. He asked if those who had criticized him for the song would rather he had said he was a gangster, or a drug dealer. "All those patinas fit better on a person like me." West was especially critical of the fashion industry, which he said had put up obstacles to his involvement, despite his assertion he now spends 80% of his time working on fashion and only 20% working on music. "Why do you think Niggaz in Paris is called Niggaz in Paris," he said. "Cos Niggaz were in Paris. I've put in the 10,000 hours. No one can say I don't know how to design a men's sneaker."

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