Kanye West (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

No one was happier for Kanye West's early career than Bougie Black People. While others merely enjoyed Kanye's music, Bougie Black People were enchanted by him. "Finally" Bougie Black People exclaimed, between sips of green machine Naked Juice, "a rap artist who speaks to me."

To their credit, the parallels between Kanye West and the typical Bougie Black Person were uncanny. He worked at the Gap, he had a mom with a Ph.D, and he secretly hated White people. When you combine this with his affinity for blazers and his slightly detectable lisp, its easy to see why Bougie Black People felt such a connection, and why they're so distraught about Kanye today.


Bougie Black People have always had a complicated relationship with rap music. They grew up appreciating and admiring it — sometimes even reciting Big L lyrics in the passenger seat of their mom's Dodge Caravan on the way to SAT prep — but that Toni Morrison book they almost finished reading their freshman year of college gave them mixed feelings. They still enjoyed rap, but felt bad doing it. This explains their experimentation with things like "African-American Studies" and "music White people listen to."

Kanye's music allowed them to embrace rap in a way they never had before. "He's conscious AND he likes Louis Vutton, just like me." they'd say. They also appreciated Kanye's soul-sampling production, music that reminded them of their regular Black aunts and uncles.


Unfortunately, Kanye began to change after the death of his mother. They convinced themselves they loved 808's and Heartbreak, even making "Say You Will" their ringtones and quoting "Robocop" in their Master's thesis. Still, Bougie Black People felt less connected to Kanye, and this disconnect became even more apparent when he left one "sorta, kinda" White girl Bougie Black People liked for a "sorta, kinda" White girl Bougie Black People don't.

"We let the first White girl slide" Bougie Black People said "But her? It's almost like he's not the exact same person he was 10 years ago."


So now they're upset about Kanye West. So upset they'll tell anyone who asks them a question about anything that they're upset abut Kanye West.

"Did you get that email about happy hour later?"

"Yeah…I just. I just can't…I mean…Yeezus? What the fuck was that?"

Being upset about Kanye West has also become a way for Bougie Black People to self-identify. They bond over memories of the first time they saw the "All Falls Down" video, and write thinkpieces about losing Kanye to whatever they lost Kanye too. Of course, they never lost Kanye. Because Kanye never belonged to them. Or anyone, for that matter. But, that doesn't matter, as Bougie Black People believe he specifically spoke for and belonged to them.


If you see a Bougie Black Person on the street today, give him a hug, tell him not to be sad, and reassure him there are other rappers — Rowan Pope, for instance — ready to carry the Bougie Black Person's torch. "I just miss him so much" he'll likely say, between tears and sips of acai machine Naked Juice "I just want to Touch the Sky together, again."

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a columnist for GQ.com, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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