Kanye West Stands up to Taylor Swift

If you have not already seen the video you have probably heard about what Kanye West did last night during the acceptance speech of Taylor Swift’s video of the year award on the Video Music Awards presented by MTVTaylor Swift won the female video of the year and was as shocked as anyone at the decision.  In the video, which you can find all over YouTube (maybe) and various news websites (take your pick) you will see her surprised face as soon as they announce her name.  I am not sure why she is so surprised as she continues to climb the charts.  I do not understand that at all.  I am not a huge fan of female voices to begin with, but her voice just makes me want to cut myself when I hear it through the airwaves.  Granted, I am a hypocrite as I have all over her albums (can I still call them albums) but that does not mean I have to like her voice.  She does not write hardly any of her own lyrics and she is too young to be that good at playing the guitar.

Before you all hang me for saying I do not like Taylor Swift I would like for you to give me a list of at least three of her songs that you know all of the lyrics to.  Exactly, you can’t.  To protect myself from further hatred, and to retain some readers while doing it, I will give my respect for how she, or her management, has handled her sudden success.  Just because I do not like it does not mean it does not have potential and talent.  There I said it.  Now can we carry on?

So last night while Taylor was giving her fighting back tears acceptance speech as Kanye walks right up, says excuse me (how nice of him) and yanks the microphone right out of her hand.  He then goes on to talk about how Beyonce had a video of a lifetime and making claim that she should be the one holding that trophy, not Taylor.  He goes on to repeat himself a few times and then apologizes to Taylor, and hands her back the microphone.  He gives her permission to finish her speech.  She was not allowed to finish and was escorted off the stage.

On the surface, this appears to be a publicity stunt for Mr. Fish Sticks himself.  He just released a new album that got a lot of critics up in arms for the computerized overtones that saturate the album.  But at the same time he did not get a lot of feedback and it only sat on the charts for a few weeks; the top of the charts anyway.  And as much as folks try to debunk the fact that I thought it was a publicity stunt, no one will ever admit it even if it was.

First off, before I even talk about why I think this was a good thing for Kanye’s career, I want to talk about how funny this was.  The look on Taylor’s face when he grabbed that microphone was both shock and surprise and I am not sure she even realized what he is doing until it was all over.  She is young, very young actually, and could possibly pull the “I had no idea what was going on” card if she wants.  I am interested to see how her camp reacts to this.  Kanye’s people have already claimed he has officially apologized to her for making an ass of himself (I have heard him called so many names today it would make your head spin) on national television.

But that right there is why this was genius.  Sure, he got the chance to perform on the VMAs, but that was not enough.  Kanye is a man that craves attention and is one that will do just about anything to get it.  If he makes an ass of himself, sure, but he is all over national television doing so and you know people will be talking about it at the water cooler the next morning.  And that leads me to my next point.

I will again have doubters with this, some might even call it an attempt to get fifteen minutes of fame, but that is all he needs.  He does not need months or years of exposure because of this because he has already, within a few short hours of this even happening, become a trending topic on Twitter.  The video was taken (for the time being) down from YouTube due to what they call copyright infractions.  (That is a lot of crap if you ask me.  It was on MTV.  What copyright are you breaking in posting something that anyone and his or her brother can watch.  What is to say these folks did not tape it on their VCR and post it for everyone that missed it to see?)

Kanye not only grabbed the social media crowd with it being all over Twitter and Facebook (and my blog) but he also got national media coverage from folks like MSN, The New York Times, and CNN.  It is either a slow news day or his actions were worth talking about as it was, for the most of the day, the number one news story on CNN.  I am excited to see how guys like Letterman and Bill O’Reilly take this and turn it into a headline.

So needless to say, Kanye got some attention whether it was meant to be harmful or not.  But here is my case as to why I felt this was a smart thing to do.  (Could he have handled it differently?  Sure.  Could or should he have waited until she was finished speaking before he made his voice heard?  Sure.  But did he have a right to be upset?  Yes, absolutely he did.)

Kanye not only got some media coverage and some online content being generated about him but he also got his opinion across for being such a hard working man in show business.  Kanye is not just a singer but he is a performer.  He is an entertainer.  I highly doubt he has ever written a single line of lyrics or played an instrument outside of a microphone, but he knows how to sell tickets.  I had the chance of seeing him perform a few years ago, before he was considered “big” and was just a stage-by-stage rapper, and even when no one knew his name he was good.

He is a very talented individual.  He is so talented that you might even see an Eminem style coming from him next.  If he releases a comedy album next I would not be surprised at all.  He has done the hardcore rap scene, and it worked.  He then went to a more at home radio friendly rap, and it worked.  He then went to an electro-pop sound that has you dancing and wondering if that is actually Kanye or his laptop singing.  It worked.

To give Beyonce some credit, she had a great video up against Taylor Swift.  If you have to ask then stop reading and use this new little tool called Google to find out what video I am speaking of.  (You might even find Justin Timberlake trying to copy her sweet dance moves.)  The video, in most circles, was better.  But does that excuse Kanye?  No, of course not.  But I will stand by the fact that he was doing this as a publicity stunt and as a way to put a foot down for hard working musicians.  (Not saying that Taylor is not hard working.  But Beyonce has more than just a pretty face going for her.  Just saying.)

The last thing that you are going to hear about this is that people are going to say it was a racial thing.  Kanye is not a racist.  He might actually be the whitest black guy that I know.  I mean, I don’t know him personally, but if I did I would text him and give him a high five for his actions last night.  He would never put himself in the position to be called a racist and would never allow folks to look at him in that light.  Just listen to his lyrics and you will know he is not a racist.

So to all of the people out there that are mad at Kanye for what he has done, get over it.  There is nothing you being upset will change.  He has a voice, and the freedom of speech, to make his thought process known.  I will agree that he could have handled it differently.  But the point of this entire fifteen minutes of fame is that he is getting attention in both blogs and 140 character status updates.  So in the eyes of Kanye West he wins whether he is holding a moon man or not.