Kanye West Receives Support From Trevor Noah Amid Public Backlash

screenshot from my next guest with david letterman and the daily show
(Image credit: Netflix / Comedy Central)

Kanye West isn’t exactly unfamiliar to controversy, but it’s come to a head in more recent months. Namely, some of the rapper’s behavior on social media was taken as “concerning” back in March, prompting both Instagram to temporarily suspend his account and the 2022 Grammys to revoke West's then-scheduled performance. What is more is that his new Yeezy Gap line, lately presented in stores in quote-unquote “trash bags,” resulted in a major backlash as spectators perceived it as insulting to the homeless community that Ye proclaimed to be inspired by. Alas, he has gotten some support amidst it all from a familiar source: Trevor Noah.

Truth be told, the Daily Show alum had been on the receiving end of the provocative star’s outspoken-ness around the time of the whole Instagram drama. Notably, Kanye West had directed a racial slur at the South African-born Trevor Noah on the platform, not long after the latter had spoken out on Comedy Central about his treatment toward ex-wife Kim Kardashian. However, Noah reacted to the situation by trying to appeal to his better nature, per TMZ. Now, months after the fact, while West continues to face public ire for his actions, the talk show host explained on Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast why his philosophy of “counsel not cancel” is appropriate here, saying:

I’ve just become more comfortable speaking my mind in situations where I feel like the mob forgets that we’re dealing with human beings. It’s easy to stand on the sidelines, see a train crash coming and say nothing about it. And then after the train crashes off the tracks, we say, ‘Oh, I saw that coming!’ Well, then why didn’t you say anything? Especially if you have some sort of platform, you have some sort of obligation to speak a truth. You know, see something and say something.

The host went on to say that the world at large has become too, perhaps, complacent in bashing perceived “irredeemable characters” like Kanye West, without first reaching out with compassion. In his view, even Ye deserves at least an “opportunity at redemption.” Although, the comedian admits that it can sometimes be a tricky thing to navigate:

And I also understand that human beings are a paradox. We can love people who we hate, we can hate people who we love. Human beings as a whole are complicated paradox. And so, I don’t like to live in a world where we constantly discard human beings like pieces of trash. Kanye West is somebody who has an indelible impression on my life. His music has literally taken me through different periods of my journey. But then there are also moments where I go, like, ‘Man, Kanye, you, you’re going off the rails here.’ But I can still say that, ‘I care for you as a human being, that’s, that’s why I’m speaking out. I’m not going to not care for you, I’m not going to hate you all of a sudden.’ That’s how I try and see the world, that’s how I would hope people would see me.

Back in 2020, when they were still technically married, Kim Kardashian herself had tried to advocate for understanding of Kanye West and his struggles with bipolar disorder. Just prior to, he had been making several controversial statements about the mother of his four kids and culture as a whole while on his failed presidential campaign trail. Kardashian talked then about the necessity of “giving grace” and how the disorder didn’t negate West’s “creative ideas” and his “genius.”

Unfortunately, though, their relationship wouldn’t survive much longer, with the future Hulu star filing for divorce in February of 2021. Later on, she had started dating SNL alum Pete Davidson, and both of them were also on the receiving ends of the rapper’s social media tirades earlier this year. Kim Kardashian was seemingly at her wits end about their online beef, as she took to hitting back at some of Ye's more personal claims.

Eventually, after the suspension and other consequences, the 21-time Grammy winner took a hiatus from public life to reportedly “work” on himself. But it apparently wasn’t meant to be. Kim K and Pete Davidson broke up this month, which resulted in Kanye West returning to Instagram with a fresh dig at the now-single comedian. Kim and her family’s new reality series, The Kardashians, is expected to cover the whole issue in more detail in the upcoming second season streaming on September 22 for Hulu subscribers. But for now, reports only indicate that Kardashian is not happy about the breakup commentary.

For his part, the 45-year-old mind behind the recent Donda albums sees his bold choices as just that, bold. About the Yeezy Gap trash bag debacle, Kanye West made a rare official statement on his own behalf, saying that he refused to apologize for his creativity. In fact, he called himself an “innovator” in the sphere of design and fashion.

So, all in all, Trevor Noah might not have given up on Kanye West just yet. Certainly, Kanye West hasn’t given up on Kanye West, either. But what about everyone else?

Lauren Vanderveen
Movies and TV News Writer

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.