Back in the early 1960’s, Frank Sinatra became infatuated with soon-to-be president John F. Kennedy. The crooner temporarily changed the name of his own group, the Rat Pack, with other singers such as Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr to the “Jack Pack”. Sinatra even released a song titled “High Hopes” which encouraged the American populace to “Vote for Kennedy”.
The relationship between Sinatra and Kennedy began to blossom, the two both having a mutual admiration for one another. Steven Watts, author of the novel JFK and the Masculine Mystique: Sex and Power on the New Frontier, has said “There was a joke at the time that ended up having a lot of truth to it, that in a way, Kennedy wanted to be Sinatra and Sinatra wanted to be Kennedy”. Sinatra even introduced the commander-in-chief to the Hollywood bombshell Marilyn Monroe; the actress Kennedy would later allegedly have an affair with.
When Kennedy spent the night at Sinatra’s home in Vegas, Sinatra had a gold plate etched onto the bed that simply stated, “JFK slept here”. When Kennedy was due to stay at Sinatra’s mansion in Palm Springs, Sinatra had illegally installed a helipad especially for the president. However, their relationship soon turned sour. Sinatra was unable to shake rumours of mafia links and as Kennedy wished to keep his public persona clean, the president went with the option of staying at Bing Crosby’s. When Sinatra heard the news, he flew into a violent rage, reportedly bashing the heliport with a sledgehammer.
In present day, hip-hop singer Kanye West has tweeted, “My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative”.
This follows the last couple of months where the rapper has become more outspoken on politics and, controversially, expressed his appreciation for president Donald Trump and his “dragon energy”. This culminated with a meeting between the two figures where they got quite cosy, sharing a hug.
Donning the red “Make America Great Again” cap, West’s views included the belief that “slavery was a choice”. West also became closer with black conservative, Candace Owens, who seems to be the person he alludes to as “using” him. Owens claimed that West designed the logo for her Blexit campaign, which encourages African Americans to leave the Democrat party.
West has denied this allegation, stating that he “introduced Candace to the person who made the logo and they didn’t want their name on it so she used mine,”
“I never wanted any association with Blexit. I have nothing to do with it.” He continued.
West has now seemed to backtrack on his more right-wing views and has now reportedly donated $200,000 to the campaign of Democrat Chicago mayoral candidate, Amara Enyia. Although many on the left believe that the damage is done, and it is unlikely that West is to win favour with them anytime soon.
The stories of Sinatra and West prove that friendships between musicians and politicians, especially US Presidents, rarely seem to have a happy ending. The artist usually ends up feeling taken advantage of when they realise that politicians had used them for political gain and not much else. For the time being, West is right to keep his mouth closed and focus on his creative works. Although it won’t last long, what else can we expect of the singer who brazenly stated that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” on live television back in 2005?
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