Kanye West says he faces discrimination in fashion industry for being straight

Kanye West accepting the Video Vanguard Award at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.
Kanye West accepting the Video Vanguard Award at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Rapper Kanye West, whose growing presence in the fashion world has drawn a mixed reaction, says he faces discrimination for being straight.

West last month suddenly announced a show of his military-inspired Yeezy line during New York Fashion Week, angering some more established designers.

"I felt that I got discriminated against in fashion also for not being gay, whereas in music you definitely get discriminated against if you are gay," West, who manages to stay persistently in the spotlight, told fashion website Showstudio.com in London.

He stressed his support for LGBT rights.

His wife, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, is the stepdaughter of Caitlyn Jenner, 65, who has brought widespread awareness to transgender issues by transitioning to be a woman.

West, who is African American, said he initially feared about "black radio hosts possibly making jokes about it, because the black culture generally is so homophobic".

"I just feel so proud to be in a family that has so many people breaking ground for the generations to come," he said in the interview recorded on Tuesday (Oct  6).

"To let your life be controlled by public opinion would be like asking to sit in traffic for the rest of your life," he further explained.

"Meaning, you want to turn this way, but there's a car right here that says this. That's public opinion. And Bruce just got off (at) the exit sign and drove as fast as he wanted."

Asked about his legacy in fashion, he replied: "Of course. I'm Michelangelo. Of course. There was a time when there were people sculpting better than him. But he made David."

The 38-year-old, whose stated ambitions include a run for president, also denounced critics who see him simply as a celebrity.

Unlike rappers who flaunt their wealth, he said he was out to prove himself as a "creative genius" who can succeed if he has the right resources.

"All of my aspirations are things that currently only 60-year-old white people do, so I have to redefine and let people know exactly who I am," he said.

"When people try to take the p**s out of me for clothing or this or that, they never think that I never had the opportunity to be properly educated."