Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Friend of Kanye

It's official, I'm the only person left in the U.S. that supports Kanye West's outburst during MTV's Video Music Awards (VMA) 2009. If you don't already know, he's in all over the news because he rushed the stage during the award ceremony and took the microphone from the winner of the Best Female Video, Taylor Swift. He vocalized his preference for Beyonce's video and returned the microphone to a stunned and speechless Swift.

For this he's had media reign down on him and even the president has called him a "jackass." After numerous public apologies, he also phoned Swift directly to apologize and she reportedly accepted. But, public dissatisfaction of his outburst continues.

Here's my thought, MTV is pretty much gone down the tubes since introducing more programming than music videos. They debuted the first reality TV show, Real World, that effectively has influenced TV programming since then. Not good. As for the VMAs, it's a joke, showcasing "talent" that's agreed upon by corporations versus recognizing true artists.

Kayne has spoken his mind about this before. Last year's VMAs celebrated the train wreck Britney Spears instead of bowing to a Kanye's amazing Album, Graduation.

In general Kayne says what's on his mind and he believes he's offering justice when no one else is willing to cross the line. Who can forget his classic statement, "Bush hates black people," during a fundraiser for Katrina victims.

What's notable is he exposed the blatant racism that appears in media and the so-called aid for the victims, most are black. This is bold behavior and earns my respect for sure. So, when he spoke for Beyonce at the risk of hurting Taylor, he was acting on his sense of justice. The truth is, any of the other ladies nominated deserved the award much more than Taylor. It was obvious to me so I guess it was glaringly obvious to Kayne.

In short, in a time where so few stand up for what's right, we should not demonize the few brave souls but rather allow them to do what they need to do. They speak a truth for many and this truth is rarely if ever heard in mainstream media. I hope the lynch mobs will subside and Kayne will recoup to keep his strength and admirable sense of social outrage. He may not always pick the best battles to fight, but he's clear of the war on justice.


1 comment:

the mighty atom said...

the MTV music video awards is a bit of a joke don't you think? MTV has always been nothing more than an advertising vehicle for the music industry - perhaps one of the most corrupt and (formerly) lucrative industries on the planet.

What does jumping on stage at the MVA mean? Does it actually accomplish anything? Is it for the industry? for the artists? for Beyonce? Or is it for Kanye? Did Kanye's statement in support of Beyonce really amount to anything real, supportive, or polemic? Or was it just a way for Kanye to seize the spotlight, acting as an anti-ad for himself?

I honestly don't have any feelings for Kanye, Beyonce, or Swift. This is the world of pop and as such it just doesn't really matter since it will be replaced and recycled in a relatively short time. Just another spectacle or fashion waiting to pass.

Is Kanye a voice of justice? Hard to say since when he opens his mouth he sounds like an inarticulate babbling fool. Jumping on stage, taking the mic, and praising Beyonce was an inarticulate gaff. It did not make any deeper point. It did not make an argument. It did nothing to create a dialog that had any substance. It was badly calculated and badly executed.

In his "bush doesn't care about black people" rant, Kanye seems uncomfortable and rambling. Is it because he's moved by the plight of black people in New Orleans and as depicted in the media? Is it because he's not comfortable speaking in public (strange for a performer), or is it because he does not really have any coherent statement to make?

We can attribute any number of possible motivations to his emotional state. And depending on our perspective and our biases we can overlay a spectrum of interpretations from righteous hero to babbling incoherent boob. In this case the celebrity is so incoherent and the argument so badly stated anything is possible.

Someone needs to talk to Kanye and smarten him up. He needs to learn how to put a coherent argument and sentence together. He needs to start thinking about how he can use his celebrity to effectively pursue what ever goals for social change he has. I personally have not a clue as to what he's trying to say, aside from the fact that black people are stereotyped and that Beyonce had a good video.

We have great examples of eloquent black men making real and brave statements against racism and unfair treatment of minorities. Martin Luther King. Malcolm X. Jessy Jackson. Even Rev Sharpton. These are just a few of many examples of black men who have made a difference and who can lay claim to making a difference.

Now compare those examples to Kanye West. Ummm... yeah. There is no comparison. Kanye just comes off as a rude fool. His intent may be good, but his execution is just stupid, rude, and ignorant. There were so many better and more effective ways to communicate his point. He handled it really badly. Putting a positive spin on his actions is giving him more credit than he deserves. Perhaps his intent was great, but the reality was that his execution was worse than terrible - it was an utter failure. And failing in such a public way on such an important topic is really almost worse than not making a statement at all. Kanye needs to think more before he acts or opens his mouth.