Is Kanye West insensitive? We know two people who think so: Taylor swift and Kathryn Whitford, the vice President of the American Parkinson Disease Association. Whitford isn’t shaming West for stealing the spotlight like he did with T.Swift during the 2009 VMAs. In fact the reason she is so upset with the rapper is because of the negative emphasis he has attributed to Parkinson Disease within his song “On Sight.”
After West’s sixth studio album, Yeezus, leaked onto the internet this past week many have been able to listen to the highly awaited lyrics to his tracks. But there is one line within West’s record that Whitford isn’t particularly fond of.
"A monster about to come alive again / Soon as I pull up and park the Benz / We get this b*tch shaking like Parkinson's." Parkinson’s Disease affects the way you move and occurs when there is a problem with certain nerve cells in the brain. According to WebMD these nerve cells make an “important chemical called dopamine. Dopamine sends signals to the part of your brain that controls movement. It lets your muscles move smoothly and do what you want them to do. When you have Parkinson’s, these nerve cells break down. Then you no longer have enough dopamine, and you have trouble moving the way you want to. Parkinson’s is progressive, which means it gets worse over time. But usually this happens slowly, over a period of many years. And there are good treatments that can help you live a full life.”
Whitford felt that West’s reference to the disease was disrespectful. “We find these lyrics distasteful and the product of obvious ignorance," she told TMZ. And she isn’t the only one who is disturbed by the analogy. Tom Palizzi, chair for People with Parkinson's Advisory Council, has also expressed his disgust for the lyrics that reference the degenerative disorder.
“Kanye West is without question a richly talented and multifaceted artist. With utmost respect for freedom of expression and the inherent controversial nature of art in general, there is, however, a fine line between expression and insensitivity,” Palizzi continued. “Many of us appreciate the lighter side of having a chronic and degenerative movement disorder; though as many interpret such statements as harsh and insensitive. As Chair and on behalf of PPAC, I would be delighted to help Mr. West better understand the truths and myths of Parkinson's. Notable people such as Michael J. Fox, Muhammad Ali and Ben Petrick, my peers and millions of others are testament to the enduring spirit of people with Parkinson's.”
Kanye West has yet to respond to the controversy. We wonder if he’ll take up Palizzi’s offer for an education session!
What do you think of Yeezy’s lyrics? Are they really offensive?