A Class about Kanye? Sign me up!

By Juzanne Martin

For most, the journey is far from over after high school graduation. Pursuing higher education proves to be a daunting task filled with exams and coursework overload. The typical math, history and science classes are common prerequisites for college students, but a few four-year colleges and universities have shaken up the course catalog to include classes about celebrities.

Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Jay Z, Madonna, Miley Cyrus, and Elvis are among the list of top celebrities that some colleges and universities have incorporated into their course offerings. This gives students an opportunity to explore the minds of some of the most influential figures in pop culture. Most recently, Washington University in St. Louis added a class on Kanye West. According to a Blavity article, the 75-student class entitled Politics of Kanye West: Black Genius and Sonic Aesthetics, “is being taught by an associate professor in the African and African-American Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies departments, Dr. Jeffrey McCune — who is literally writing the book on Kanye.” The class is intended to focus on the “black genius” while also investigating political, race, gender, sexuality and cultural related issues. McCune said the students of Washington University helped inspire the course. He noticed students always referencing West’s music, fashion and performances, and thought it would be the perfect time to take him seriously “as a cultural icon.” The class has been quite successful and incredibly popular, filling up to capacity with a growing waiting list.


Kanye West has dubbed himself a “creative genius and there’s no other way to word it,” he said. His impactful music and game-changing Yeezy brand has earned him over 29 million followers. He has rightfully influenced the Hip-Hop genre immensely. Many try to unpack West’s mind even more so with his recent thoughts about the current political climate. Washington University took it a step further by engaging the minds of college students.

Celebrity College Courses:

Politicizing Beyoncé (Rutgers University)

The Music of Radiohead (Syracuse University)

Sociology of Hip Hop: Jay Z (Georgetown University)

Madonna the Phenomenon (University of Amsterdam)

Bruce Springsteen’s Theology (Rutgers University)

Spirituality and Politics of U2 (Saint Mary’s College)

English 2169: Jay Z and Kanye West (University of Missouri)

Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame (University of South Carolina)

Michael Jackson: The Business of Music (Clark Atlanta University)

American Popular Arts: Elvis as Anthology (University of Iowa)

The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender, and Media (Skidmore College)

(list courtesy of Popsugar)