Strength, Gratitude & Kanye

Today's the 10th anniversary of Kanye West's breakout album, The College Dropout. I can't remember where along the line I became such a big Kanye fan. I knew Kanye was behind a lot of tracks I loved by Jay-Z, Alicia Keys and other artists, and I appreciated his hustle and determination right out the gate. I'm still impressed his first single, 'Through the Wire' was recorded after his fateful car accident that left him with a bloated face and wired jaw. I loved TCD (it's that album that reminds me of my college days. No dropout ;P) and every album he's put out after that, no matter how 'weird' or 'different' it is. 

Kanye's tweets on the 10th anniversary of The College Dropout. You have to read them backwards because Twitter.

His outspokenness and non-music-related ambitions have made him an easy target for backlash and negativity on the interwebz, and so somewhere along the line, this Kanye fan also became a Kanye defender. For the record, I know a lot of people automatically wrote him off after that whole Taylor Swift debacle. I also have zero interest in Taylor Swift and if I had the opportunity, I'd tell the world Beyonce deserved Best Video too.

Kanye wears his heart and mind on his sleeve. He also happens to be under that Hollywood microscope, whether he likes it or not. That's what happens when you fall in love with fashion and with a Kardashian. I hate that people judge him for what happens outside of the studio, not for what he creates inside of it. I hate that people judge him so freely for the things we're all looking to express ourselves. Passion. Love. Success. Family. Pride. Strength. Confidence. And yes, humility. 

What I see in Kanye is a dude from Chicago who has never wavered from his hustle and his passion for music. Who loves his mom and carries her like an illuminating torch everywhere he goes. Who's found love and is starting a family with the family he never got to have growing up - amidst all of his hard work and personal growth. He's like that one outspoken friend who gets mad riled when the topic of conversation turns to something he feels strongly about - and who'll let you know exactly how he feels. Sometimes you can't stand listening to his opinions, but you are supremely grateful there's someone in your life who's confident, strong and vulnerable enough to put himself and his craft out there. He remains an inspiration for me. It's not easy to put your face, name and everything into a blog and social media presence with grace, class and persistence despite the naysayers. It's not for everyone, and yet everyone will always have an opinion on those bold enough to pursue it. 

It's real easy for people to hide behind a computer and lay it out on a celebrity like Kanye - but you won't ever see them being anywhere near as real as Kanye's kept it all his life. People are too scared to put their true selves out there, and so it's easy to make fun or bash someone who is. Every time Kanye is in the media nowadays, I'm reminded of how quickly people can spew out negativity about someone they don't know - and how much I hate them for it. I always gotta step back and remember gratitude. 

Instead of focusing on people I'd never want to be in a car listening to the same song with - I'm thankful Kanye stays on his grind and produces music I want to hear. I'm grateful Kanye's setting an example to always speak your mind and put your heart out there, even if it seems the entire world can't stand it. Don't ever let the haters get to you. The more you find success, and love, and the things you make you happy - the more people will have an opinion about it. Misery loves company, but that doesn't mean you have to accept their invitation to join them. 

Kanye, keep doing your thing and I will keep being thankful someone like you is out there, and grateful you're in my life in some way.

"I've played the underdog my whole career."