Kanye West's public persona went from braggart to beggar last week, when the talented and hugely controversial hip-hop star told the world he was $53 million in debt.
West made the announcement on Twitter, and pitched it as a direct plea for relief to... Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, for some reason. (He's rich?) Writing that he needed "access to more money in order to bring more beautiful ideas into the world," West tried to tap Zuckerberg for $1 billion to help keep him in business as a producer, rapper, designer, and bon vivant.
Why Mr. Kim Kardashian would need $1 billion to cover $53 million in debt was not explained. Nor could most people even fathom how a guy with multiple best-selling albums, sold-out concert tours, and a wife whose net worth is estimated at $85 million could fall into debt. (Vanity Fair speculates his financial shortfall, if it exists, was caused by significant losses on his fashion line.)
The public cry for cash was immediately pulled apart by differing viewpoints. Cynics said it was just a way to drum up publicity for Yeezy's new album, The Life of Pablo, which dropped on Sunday; more sympathetic people thought it might just be an unfortunately public meltdown from someone suffering from mental illness.
But one guy actually got off his ass and took action: Minneapolis designer Jeremy Piatt, who started a GoFundMe account to help raise money to get Kanye's finances back in the black. Believe it or not, money is slowly trickling in to the "Get Kanye out of Debt" fund since its Monday launch.
This being the internet, it's not obvious exactly what Piatt's up to, and the tone of his GoFundMe certainly seems tongue-in-cheek.
"We must open our hearts and wallets for Kanye today. Sure he is personally rich and can buy furs and houses for his family, but without our help, the true genius of Kanye West can't be realized."
"I would like everything to go to Kanye," Piatt writes.
So far, most of what's going to Kanye is attention: The account has been shared 99,000 times, and 624 people have contributed donations totaling just under $6,000. <!—EndFragment—>
It's hard to tell who's in on the joke, who's being sincere, and how much is even real. In that way, it is like all things Kanye West.