Kanye interrupts another Grammy winner
West starts another dialogue about the injustices of award shows
RACHEL LA DUE
After a six-year hiatus, on Feb. 8 Kanye West made his return to the Grammy stage— and on this night in more ways than one. He performed the emotional ballad “Only One”, written for his daughter North, and sung from his late mother’s perspective.
Later in the night he joined Rihanna and Paul McCartney on stage in their collaborative, upbeat hit “FourFiveSeconds”.
The appearance that the crowd was not expecting from West came when the winner of Album of the Year was announced.
West rushed the stage and quickly descended as Beck went up to accept the award for his album “Morning Phase”, which won over Beyoncé’s self-titled 2013 album.
Although this is an uncommon occurrence at the Grammy’s, West’s behavior is not unprecedented, as it was a reference to his infamous 2009 VMA incident when Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” won Best Female Video.
West interrupted Swift’s speech as he unexpectedly appeared on the stage, grabbed her microphone, and proceeded to say that Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” video should have won instead.
West experienced severe backlash following this episode, causing him to leave the country for nearly a year.
West’s rushing the stage at the Grammy’s was a re-enactment of the VMA fiasco, but he was also once again implying that Beyoncé was not receiving the credit he believes is due to her.
West spoke about the incident in a post-Grammy interview with E!
“Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyoncé,” West said.
“We as musicians have to inspire people who go to work every day, and they listen to that Beyoncé album and they feel like it takes them to another place.
Then they do this whole promotional event, and they’ll run the music over somebody’s speech, an artist, because they want commercial advertising. No, we not playing with them no more.”
The question remains as to whether West’s approach to his disapproval of the award recipient at the Grammy’s was all in good humor or if his actions were inappropriate and demonstrated a complete lack of respect for Beck as an artist.
It is important to note that although West’s statements may seem to be too critical of Beck,West himself has given his own awards away when he believed someone else was more deserving.
In 2007 he gave his BET Video of the Year award to Big Boi & UGK, and in 2008 he gave his Best Rap/Hip-Hop Male AMA Award to Lil Wayne.
Many would agree with West’s statement, having been inspired while listening to Beyoncé’s album countless times.
I would have loved to have seen Beyoncé win the Grammy as well, however I do not discredit Beck’s incredible talent and the value of his music.
Freshman Caitlan Bertram believes that West’s remarks were clearly offensive and unnecessary.
“Kanye could have gone another route to get his point across,” Bertram said. “Six years after robbing Taylor’s moment in the spotlight, this incident was just his attempt to bring attention upon himself and his brand.”
Bertram is not alone in thinking that West is egotistical. Many perceive him to be arrogant and self-centered.
On the other hand, West’s behavior can also be interpreted as an unapologetic confidence in his work and a powerful unwillingness to indulge in false humility.
Sophomore Calvin Brown believes that West’s actions and words may have been misguided, but his intention was only to draw attention to a perceived inequality within these award shows.
“I think that he was a little rude and unprofessional,” Brown said. “But I think he wanted to bring awareness to the fact that the Grammy’s doesn’t always get the public opinion right.”
“He is an honest person. I feel like his type of honesty is definitely more on the cutting edge side, and people are just not aware of it or prepared for it.”
Although West’s honesty may be too blunt and problematic for some, he still forces all of us to consider difficult questions: Why is Beyoncé, a powerful woman of color, continually boxed out of some big awards despite her iconic work?
Many would agree with Kanye that Beyoncé was snubbed a second time at this year’s Grammy’s.
It is important to note that it is the members of the Recording Academy that vote on who takes home these awards.
However, there is a secret committee that was created in the 1990’s that has a final say over who wins the Album of the Year award in particular.
These voters’ identities are kept private, making it difficult to interpret the reasons behind their decisions of winners, or if any particular biases are taken into account.
After this year’s snub, people are questioning whether award shows are constructed to favor certain artists, or at least certain genres.
It makes sense when looking at the facts. Critics even agree that Beyoncé should have taken it home, as her album’s Metacritic score was higher than that of Beck’s album.
Artists like West seem to be encouraging a more open dialogue about how these winners are chosen and the real reasons why.
West was justified in expressing his disapproval of Beck winning the Grammy over Beyoncé.
He conveyed his opinion in a way where he was able to make fun of his past mistake, while still voicing his passionate views, as we are all entitled to do.
West later stated in an interview on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show that he does in fact have respect for Beck.
“Beck is one of the nicest guys,” West said. “There’s nothing that I will want to do as a fellow musician to disrespect him in any way.”
Beck does not seem to be harboring hard feelings towards West.
“I still love [West] and think he’s genius,” Beck said. “I aspire to do what he does.”
Regardless of your opinion of West, he is a man that has kept us interested.
His impromptu behavior creates a lot of controversy, but it is nonetheless thought-provoking and often times extremely relevant to important issues we face today.