Rapper Kanye West told his Twitter followers this week that he was “distancing” himself from politics because he’s tired of being “used.”
Apparently, that fed-up feeling does not extend to local politics in general — and Chicago mayoral candidate Amara Enyia in particular.
West has donated another $126,460 to Enyia, following the lead of his friend and collaborator, Chance the Rapper, whose celebrity endorsement elevated Enyia in the crowded race to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The donation, reported late Wednesday night, brings Kanye’s contributions to Enyia to a cool $200,000.
“Kanye has an interest in investing in Chicago, his hometown, and is welcome to act on those interests at any time. We think it is valuable that he is able to focus his efforts on his creative work and on supporting the platform that he believes will help move our city in the right direction,” campaign spokeswoman Kristi Kucera wrote in a statement about the donation.
“Kanye has never been involved with our campaign other than as a supporter,” Kucera added. “His interest in the mayoral race is about problems and results, and has nothing to do with partisan politics.”
Also on Thursday, mayoral candidate Gery Chico told the Chicago Sun-Times that he has now raised $1.15 million from 426 donors, $900,000 of it during the month of October alone.
Bill Daley, the fundraising leader in the mayor’s race, has raised $1.7 million from 37 donors. That includes $500,000 of his own money.
“Even as we approach the mid-term elections, people are still paying attention to the mayor’s race,” Chico said.
“My clip is much higher and steeper than it was in 2011. I raised $4.8 million for that race [against Rahm Emanuel]. We’re gonna do well above that. I have 30 fundraisers scheduled between now and early December and we’re adding more every day.”
Last month, West donated $73,540 to Enyia’s longshot campaign. Enyia promptly used the money to settle a $73,540 debt to the Illinois State Board of Elections stemming from filing fees and penalties never paid that must be resolved before she can get on the mayoral ballot.
But, the fact that Kanye’s cash came just days after West made national headlines during an Oval Office meeting with Trump made it fodder in the mayor’s race.
County Commissioner Stanley Moore, who has endorsed County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for mayor, said Enyia’s decision to accept West’s donation opens up a whole new line of questioning.
“If you accept money from a person like Kanye West, are you also endorsing his stance on Donald Trump?” Moore said.
“Kanye West has made comments in the past about slavery being the slave’s fault. He has talked about abolishing the 13th amendment. This opens the door for Amara to answer questions about whether or not she is embracing these same philosophies. Is she embracing Trump’s policies that hurt African-Americans?”
In response, Enyia acknowledged at that time that it was “legitimate for people to ask” the question about whether she shares West’s favorable view of Trump. But, she said, “My track record and my platform is very visible and speaks for itself and Kanye is supporting that.”
Hours before joining Chance at a Woodlawn rally to discuss “gentrification and displacement,” Enyia talked about the many issues on which she and Kanye agree.
“He’s talked about stop-and-frisk. He’s talked about criminal justice reform. He talked about extending mental health services in communities. He has talked about the need to invest economically in communities. He has talked about bringing some of his companies back to Chicago to create jobs,” she said.
“If you are in a leadership position and you recognize the circumstances we’re in–with huge population losses specifically in the black community at a clip of 250,000 over a 15-year time frame–you should spend time thinking about what are the ways someone who has amassed wealth can actually come back and invest.”
Earlier this week, West tweeted that he was through with politics.
“My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in,” West wrote.
“I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative!!!”
My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative !!!— ye (@kanyewest) October 30, 2018
Enyia’s long-shot campaign has been given a boost in the last month by West’s money and the enthusiastic support of Chance, who has appeared with her at a series of campaign events.
Aside from West’s two donations, Enyia’s fundraising has been anemic. In the period covered by her last required quarterly report, which included a month after she officially announced her campaign in late August, Enyia reported $320 in donations.
Her only donations reported so far in the final quarter of 2018 are the two from West. Candidates are not required to report donations under $1,000 between quarterly reports.
According to numbers compiled by the Sun-Times from reports to the Chicago Board of Elections, Enyia now has the tenth most contributions reported in the mayoral race. Bill Daley, the leading fundraiser in the race, has reported almost $1.8 million in donations.