Donald Trump has been going through an embarrassing struggle to find talent to perform at his inauguration on Friday. His pal Kanye West could’ve been the A-list headliner he so desperately needs. But is Trump as willing to stick his neck out for Kanye as the rapper has been to go out on a limb for him?

In an interview with CNN, Tom Barrack, the chair of Trump’s presidential inaugural committee, was asked why the multi-platinum MC and unabashed Trump supporter wasn’t invited to perform at the president-elect’s inauguration. His response? Mr. West’s music is not “traditionally American.”

Both West and Trump have confirmed their famous friendship to the press. And West has endured unprecedented backlash from his fans and peers since speaking in support of Trump during a concert last November.

T.I. and Snoop Dogg called West, Steve Harvey and the other Black celebrities who’ve met with Trump recently names like “Uncle Tom,” and “coon.”

Now that Trump’s camp is showing how it really feels about Kanye, is ‘Ye feeling a bit bamboozled?

It’s tough to maintain friendships that are intersected by racial and political issues. But does Kanye still think Donald Trump is really his friend? Or will this subtle insult remind him of his most politically charged lyrics?

It’s enough to make anyone wonder how Kanye could enter the game so woke and rebellious, only to find himself standing beside Donald Trump with his eyes closed and teeth showing after 15 years of speaking for the people.

“There’s a strategic plan that people are trying to make you a part of, okay… So do not accept any invitation to have any meeting, no matter how positive you think the outcome may be, without understanding that people have a really Willie Lynch agenda, okay. You being there, taking pictures and smiling and being positive, it may seem positive to you, but there’s a hidden agenda, man. You might not know it. But now you have been warned. Do not go in there unless you have a strategy.” – T.I.

The true irony in all of this is that Trump’s camp couldn’t be more wrong about hip-hop or its place in traditional America. hip-hop has been one of the most influential and profitable American subcultures of the past half century. And the culture remains one of America’s most important exports, with its reach and impact growing globally as we speak.

But that’s not what any of this is about. We are about to enter the culture war that Bill O’Reilly has been raving about for years. And sadly, Kanye appears to be the Crispus Attucks of our time; the first casualty of the new, old, America.

That’s the downside of being anybody’s African American. It’s a reminder that this country was never meant to be ours. No matter how much we earn, how long we fight, or who we call a friend. Nobody could save Kanye from facing this painful truth, but hopefully he can learn from the experience of being Donald Trump’s Black friend.

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