Should Kanye West and Kim Kardashian stay out of politics?

Should Kanye West and Kim Kardashian stay out of politics?

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After successfully lobbying the president to pardon Alice Johnson, Kim Kardashian West is back at the White House advocating for prison reform—this time for a 30-year-old man serving a life sentence on a drug charge. Yet, West and her husband Kanye have a rocky history with politics. Kanye struggled to justify his support of Donald Trump on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and Kim was criticized when she seemed to openly cheer on Trump. But others applaud the couple for seeking solutions to real problems and respecting the presidency, regardless of who occupies it. Should the entertainers be talking about politics at all? 

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Kim Kardashian West is back in the West Wing discussing prison reform with President Donald Trump.

Reality television star Kim Kardashian West, who successfully pushed President Donald Trump to grant a pardon for a drug offender earlier this year, returned to the White House on Wednesday for a meeting with senior aides as part of the administration's efforts on criminal justice reform.
...Kardashian...last visited the White House three months ago to press for a pardon for 63-year-old Alice Marie Johnson. At the time, the reality star, dressed in black, posed for an instantly iconic — and seemingly somber — photo with Trump in the Oval Office, though there were no plans for her to meet with the president on Wednesday.
...Kardashian gave an interview this week in which she said she would lobby for Young, who was charged in December 2010 for being involved in drug trafficking in Clarksville, Tennessee. He was later convicted and, due to mandatory minimum sentencing, was given life in prison without parole after being arrested for marijuana and cocaine possession.

In June, Kardashian West successfully lobbied the president to release a 63-year-old woman serving a life sentence in prison for a nonviolent crime. Per The New York Times:

Ms. Kardashian West celebrated the decision on Twitter. “BEST NEWS EVER!!!!” she wrote.
In an emailed statement, she thanked Mr. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, for showing mercy to Ms. Johnson. “Her commutation and forthcoming release is inspirational and gives hope to so many others who are also deserving of a second chance,” Ms. Kardashian West said.
“I’m grateful to the president for allowing Alice to go home after 21.5 years in prison and to Kim Kardashian for her advocacy on Alice’s behalf,” said Jennifer Turner, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which has championed Ms. Johnson’s case.
...Mr. Kushner has been advocating changes to harsh criminal justice policies against the resistance of Mr. Sessions and the Justice Department. He invited Ms. Kardashian West to the White House last week to make the case for Ms. Johnson and Mr. Trump then invited his guest to come to the Oval Office to talk to him about her.

Kardashian West's record on politics is not without missteps. In a recent "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" segment, the host pressed her for her opinion about the president. She finally responded that she had "nothing bad to say" about President Trump. Writer Lauren Rearick wrote in an op-ed for Teen Vogue:

It's not acceptable for Kim to pick and choose when she wishes to use her platform to enact change. People are watching, listening, and following everything the Kardashians do, and for a celebrity who’s regularly vocal regarding her every move, her silence on Trump’s actions comes across as a scream.

As a beloved entertainer and respected musician, people take Kanye's opinions very seriously. When asked to explain these opinions, though, Kanye doesn't seem to have an answer. The latest example of this was Kanye's interview with Jimmy Kimmel. Consequence of Sound explained the interaction:

[W]hen challenged by Kimmel to defend Trump’s policies, Kanye was lost for words. “You famously said George Bush doesn’t care about black people. It makes me wonder what makes you think Donald Trump does, or any people at all?” Kimmel asked, pointing to Trump’s policy of separating children at the border. Kanye sat speechless for several seconds, prompting Kimmel to go to commercial. When they returned from the break, Kimmel moved on to an entirely different topic.

In the same interview, Kanye explained that it is his right to have an opinion and to talk about it. Consequence of Sound summarizes the clip:

“Just as a musician, African-American… everyone around me tried to pick my candidate for me. And then told me every time I said I liked Trump that I couldn’t say it out loud or my career would be over,” Kanye West explained. “I’d get kicked out of the black community because blacks — we’re supposed to have a monolithic thought, we can only like, we can only be Democrats and all.” He said that it took him over a year to regain his confidence following his 2016 hospitalization, and that him wearing a MAGA hat was “overcoming fear.” He added, “Liberals can’t bully me, news can’t bully me, the hip-hop community, they can’t bully me. Because at that point, if I’m afraid to be me, I’m no longer Ye. That’s what makes Ye.”

Fans of the pair seem conflicted about their outspoken politics. After the Kimmel interview, New York Magazine music critic Craig Jenkins tweeted about his frustration with Kanye. 

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