Ye Stay Oblivious: Hands Out Yeezys to Dictator, Orphans in Uganda

Kanye West autographs a pair of his sneakers as a gift to Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, on Oct. 15, 2018, at State House in Entebbe, Uganda. Museveni said he and West held “fruitful discussions” about promoting tourism and arts in the East African nation in which the rapper is said to be recording music in a tent.
Photo: Presidential Press Unit via AP

In one of his recent daily missives via TMZ (do the Jenner-Kardashians partially own that site?) Kanye West said he was getting off the Twitters; alas, he has not.

Ye and his wife Kim Kardashian, and eldest daughter, North West, are in the East African nation of Uganda to record and complete his next album, now titled Yandhi.


West, dubbed “a former black man” by some funny writer, has fancied himself a humanitarian, and has apparently been giving out $220 Yeezys to children in an orphanage in one of the poorest nations in Africa, and has trekked to the presidential palace to give Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni a pair as well.

However, Ye, being ahistorical Ye, is rubbing some African musicians the wrong way.

One of Uganda’s biggest musical stars criticized West’s meeting with the president who has been in office for more than 30 years and refuses to step down. Museveni is Africa’s third longest serving president, and in 2005 helped to oversee a change where presidential term limits were lifted.


Quartz reports that musician turned lawmaker Bobi Wine (real name Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu), told the Guardian that it was “immoral” for West to “just to rub shoulders with the president.”

Wine has been a thorn in Museveni’s side after his election to office and was reportedly detained and tortured this summer for his efforts.


Fela Kuti’s son has also strongly disavowed West after the Chicago contrarian said that the “spirit of Fela is inside him,” before taking his trip to the continent.

Of course, if Ye read a book he might know that Fela’s spirit was all about resistance to corrupt systems and men, for which Fela himself was tortured for.


Ye, meanwhile, obliviously cozies up to such folks with alarming regularity, seemingly getting more shallow (is this the same man who recorded “Diamonds from Sierra Leone”?) by the minute.

Always considering himself a fashion plate, he and Kim rocked neon green sweaters with the Ye’s World Food Program and the words ‘Saving Lives, Changing Lives’ on them after coming to the orphanage with kicks and Beats by Dre headphones.

Rapper Kanye West drinks from a bottle of water during a visit to the Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO) Children’s Village in Masulita, outside Kampala, in Uganda Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018.
Photo: AP Photo/Stephen Wandera

I know that there was once another madman in Uganda some time ago. His name was Idi Amin.

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Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.