Yesterday, the Occupy Wall Street protests got yet another celebrity drop-in: the Louis Vuitton Don himself, Kanye West.
Accompanied by hip-hop pioneer-turned-activist Russel Simmons, Yeezy walked through the crowd with an escort and “observed” the protests. While I’m sure many were surprised and excited to see West, one demonstrator shouted, “There are no celebrities, just people.”
While many would argue that West and Simmons have profited from the same systems the Occupy Wall Street protestors are fighting against, Simmons took to his Twitter account to defend Kanye’s presence. He wrote: “His presence matters. #occupywallstreet. ‘Celebrity [sic] have no real value except to use it to help others.’”
After being questioned by another skeptical follower, Simmons continued: “Its inspiring to others to see him there. Maybe he and other concerned artist will organize big rally?”
While he was there, the typically flamboyant West seemed to take his style down, just a notch. While he left his diamonds at home, Ye’ was outfitted with his signature gold grill and chain. And as Simmons said, “I love how sweet and tolerant he [Kanye] was to the crowd.” I guess Yeezy is for the people after all?
What do you think? Do celebs like Kanye West and Russel Simmons have a place in the Occupy Wall Street protests, or are they just muggin’ for the cameras?
*Related: It seems like the Occupy movement is spreading across the pond to Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. Read more about it here: “Occupy Wall Street protests go global.“