Culture

Kanye West Ends Partnership with Gap Leading to a 3.5% Drop in Stock Immediately

Kanye West’s recent decision to distance himself from the popular American retail brand Gap highlights a larger issue of corporations leveraging the influence of black artists to attract black consumer spending.

How Corporations Leverage the Black Dollar

Kanye expressed his dissatisfaction with fashion giants Gap and Adidas publicly and subsequently cut ties with Gap.

This raises the question of why black consumers continue to support companies that do not prioritize their needs.

Big corporations often utilize hip-hop artists and other creatives to appeal to consumers, significantly boosting their profits by targeting the black dollar.

In 2020, Forbes dubbed Travis Scott as “America’s Brand Whisperer,” demonstrating how artists like him can influence major corporate partnerships with brands like Nike, Epic Games, and McDonald’s.

Despite the cultural impact of artists like Travis Scott and Saweetie on the black community, the wealth generated often flows back into corporate America, making these companies richer.

Black consumers hold substantial buying power and influence the broader American population, as highlighted in Nielsen‘s 2021 African American Consumer Report.

“As Black Americans continue to video stream, listen to radio and podcasts, as well as buy Black, they continue to lead the conversation and stay connected through social media — having an unprecedented impact on brands and what consumers watch, purchase, and listen to.”

Despite their influence, black artists’ contributions often do not result in substantial community gains but rather enrich corporate entities further.

Kanye Discusses Gap Fallout on CNBC

Kanye participated in a live interview with CNBC today to explain his decision to sever ties with Gap, which led to a 3.5% drop in the brand’s stock value.

During the interview, Kanye revealed his initial intentions with Gap to offer high-quality yet affordable products, which were stifled by the company’s unilateral pricing decisions.

After years of negotiations, Kanye felt marginalized and ignored within the partnership, emphasizing that Gap disregarded contract terms like establishing physical stores for the collaboration.

Kanye leveraged his connections with fashion powerhouses such as Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga to design the collection, expanding the reach of these retail brands.

Feeling undervalued, Kanye lamented the lack of input and recognition from Gap’s leadership, emphasizing his dedication to his craft.

“Sometimes I would talk to the guys, the heads up, the leaders and it would just be like I’m on mute or something.”

Kanye approaches his business ventures with a serious and focused demeanor.

Should Kanye Follow Tyler Perry’s Path?

Perhaps it is time for Kanye to take a page from Tyler Perry‘s book and establish his fashion empire independently.

Tyler Perry attributes much of his success to unwavering support from the black community, retaining ownership of his work without external funding or relinquishing creative control.

Imagine the impact if the black community exclusively supported one another and patronized more black-owned businesses.

Which black-owned businesses do you actively support?

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