It’s been quite a week at the intersection of politics and entertainment.
One the one hand, we heard from comedian Michelle Wolf at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where her sour and politically-charged commentary delighted some and offended many.
But we also heard from musician Kanye West, whose penchant for the outrageous led him to make controversial statements about both the POTUS and the history of slavery in the U.S.
The internet is currently rife with reactions to both performances.
I’m putting that word in italics because much of what I read on Facebook, Twitter, and other blogs leads me to believe that many people are overlooking the performativity of both situations. That might be the one thing that Wolf and West have in common: they are performers.
But to what end?
Wolf and West are both performers, but they are also entertainers and hence, businesspersons. Their earning power DEPENDS upon staying in the public eye, attracting attention for themselves, and finding a means by which they can stay relevant.
Both performers’ opportunistic tendencies should be apparent: they’re simply marketing themselves to cash in on their next gig.
Wolf’s comedy series The Break with Michelle Wolf premiers on May 26th. Guess how many people will be watching it now? West has already established himself as a prolific recording artist and songwriter, so a new product from him is inevitable. His challenge is remaining relevant and noticeable in an ever-evolving pop music landscape. And let’s be honest: the man seems to love any attention he can get, be it positive or negative.
Sure, they’ve both made some wacky, erroneous, offensive, distasteful, and bizarre statements this past week. It’s what they do.
And more to the point: it’s good for business.