You can say what you want about Kanye West, that he’s crazy, that he’s a religious nut, or even that he’s prone to being extraordinarily dramatic. But one thing none of us can deny is that he lives to break the rules and live “off-book.” It shows in his music, in his lifestyle, and in his politics.
But now, he’s also taking that level of nonconformity to his beliefs about COVID-19 and the recently FDA-approved vaccine.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the entertainer will be holding his second listening party for his latest but not yet released album, “Donda,” in the near future. And while the news of it is rather big already, thanks to the life-size replica of his childhood home that will be featured at the Soldier Field event, as well as the apparent delay of the album’s official release, that’s not what has everyone talking about it.
Instead, headlines are abuzz because, unlike many of his fellow Hollywood stars and pop music icons, West has decided that vaccines are not and will not be required at his music events, be that a live concert or a listening party. Neither will fans be expected to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Now, to be sure, this isn’t anything we should be all that surprised about. As I’ve said, he’s not exactly one to follow where everyone else is headed. As Rolling Stone said in a recent article about the man, “It’s Kanye’s party, and he’ll throw caution to the wind if he wants to.”
There’s also the fact that when COVID first became a pandemic, Kanye didn’t seem phased in the least, not even when he said that he himself had been diagnosed with it. And when the vaccine was announced, although not yet released, the rapper made it clear that he would not be getting the “mark of the beast.”
But what is a bit surprising is that the city of Chicago, known for its liberal-leaning leadership and near socialistic ways of late, doesn’t seem to have a problem with Kanye’s wishes.
In fact, according to the Sun-Times, the no-proof needed protocols are actually in line with Chicago’s pandemic rules. As the rules state, masks shall be worn in all public indoor spaces, except while one is “actively eating or drinking.” This will be followed in the stadium for elevators, suite hallways, clubs, etc. However, most of the listening party will be taking place outdoors where masks are only recommended, regardless of vaccination status.
As the Sun-Times said, “the decision to not require proof of vaccination or negative test results for the Kanye event is in line with Live Nation’s announcement earlier this month that leaves entry mitigations up to the individual artists at all of its U.S. events and tours.”
Let me just say, this was a very wise idea, on their part…
But I digress.
Another thing to point out here is that population capacity at Soldier Field and for this event has been capped at 60 percent or 38,000. Usually, the stadium holds about 63,000 fans.
According to Chicago Parks District spokeswoman Michele Lemons, “Kanye West’s performance is one of many examples that show that Chicago can be open and safe at the same time. We have worked with Soldier Field on COVID-19 protocols, as we have other venues including Wrigley and Guaranteed Rate Fields, and feel this event can be safely held with the proper mitigation efforts in place.”
Kanye has already shown that he’s capable of holding safe public events this year, two of which have recently happened in Atlanta since July. Neither of them required proof of vaccinations or a negative COVID test.
However, it is important to note that the Mercedes-Benz Stadium did announce on the day of West’s latest event at that location it would be offering on-site Pfizer shots during his listening party.
Regardless, West, as usual, has made it clear his conformity is not for sale, and neither is that of his fans.