Kanye continues to incite criticism online

At the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Crawford climbed a prop tree and attempted to knock it down as Limp Bizkit accepted their award below.

Fifteen years later, it’s a move that’s been praised as the band’s typical restlessness as well as in line with the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll.

At the 2008 VMAs, Kanye West infamously stormed onstage and interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech after she won Video of the Year over Beyoncé.

West then delivered a tearful apology on national television, deciding it would be best for him to take some time away from the spotlight and learn how to cope with his newfound fame – a theme thoroughly explored throughout his 2007 album, “Graduation.”

About a week ago, Beck won a Grammy for Album of the Year over Beyoncé and was jokingly followed on stage by West in reference to the 2008 incident, creating likely the most interesting moment of a particularly boring show and laughter from himself, Beck, as well as the rest of the audience – Jay-Z in particular.

Beck invited West back onstage, but West made it clear he was only joking. After the show, entertainment network E! interviewed West about his opinions on Beck and the Grammys, at which point he said:

“…Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé. And at this point, we tired of it! Because what happens is, when you [The Grammys] keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats of music, it’s disrespectful to inspiration.”

The next day, West further clarified that he “loves Beck” – dismissing accusations that he wasn’t familiar with the artist, despite referencing him on a song in 2004 – but simply thought Beyoncé should have won Album of the Year.

Beck responded to these comments by agreeing that Beyoncé deserved to win, and saying he respected West as an artist and wanted to become more like him.

Despite the ignored fact that West has given away at least four of his own awards to other artists and the respectful dialogue between the two artists, the nation proceeded to lose its collective mind.

There’s something to be said about the nation’s willingness to get up in arms over an artist’s comments criticizing the Grammys when that’s what so many later outraged people spent their night doing on Twitter.

It’s disheartening to me that so many people dismiss West because of what they hear from others without any intention of ever listening to his music or even trying to understand the passionate mes In 2007, West’s mother passed away at the age of 58, suffering “multiple post-operative factors” after plastic surgery.

This, paired with the end of a long-term engagement, caused West to drop plans for the fourth album in his “college series” and pushed him in the direction of the somber, R&B-tinged “808’s and Heartbreaks,” resulting in sonic innovation and a change of production with each following album.

West calls himself a creative genius, and why do we find that upsetting?

Who are we to argue? Critically, commercially, he has yet to produce a lackluster record, and the number of artists he has directly influenced over the past decade is close to innumerable.

Do we really have the right to be upset that a black artist expressed distaste with the Grammys awarding Album of the Year to a white male singing about his personal problems versus a black female whose album was more critically and commercially successful, leaving a large mark on both the music industry and feminist culture?

I’m running out of words, but I guess I’ll end with this – right now, as I finish writing this piece.

I am currently in a Facebook argument after posting about a video from jock-rock/glam band Steel Panther, in which they sing a song filled with poop jokes and ultimately wish Kanye West, a husband and father, testicular cancer.

Yet, the comments aren’t about how absolutely reprehensible and unfunny that is; they are about whether Kanye West is an intelligent and talented individual.

Isn’t that just like us, to harp on something as asinine as an artist’s unsinkability in order to avoid the larger issue?

We are quick to judge but the last to even attempt to listen.

Perhaps we would do some good to take the words from West’s latest single, dedicated to his mother and daughter, into consideration: “No, you’re not perfect, but you’re not your mistakes.”


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