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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Come on, Ye! How could you be so heartless?

Published: September 18, 2009
Section: Arts, Etc.

Who is the greatest rap star these days? Jay-Z? Lil Wayne? Diddy? Well people may have different opinions about the issue, but I believe that one of the most influential hip hop musicians is definitely Kanye West, a.k.a Yeezy. Besides his many hits, his influence on popular culture is presented in various areas such as fashion, art, and even philosophy.

For example, Kanye West is certainly, as he has claimed himself, the fashion icon of our era. Out of 64 nominees of fashion-forwarded rappers, Kanye was awarded “best dressed rapper of all time” in the ‘Style War’ competition, held by Also, early this year, Kanye announced his collaboration with many famous fashion brands, such as Louis Vuitton and Nike, which sparked curiosity of those in fashion and resulted in a huge profit margin.

Moreover, in posting fascinating images of renowned and newly discovered artists almost daily in his blog, he shows impressive artistic understanding and knowledge. It is actually hilarious to see Kanye often expresses his personal feelings in his posts such as “Bow to the presence of GREATNESS!!!” or “UUUUMMMM…this crib is CRAZE!!” While most people seem to like what he posts, some argue that Kanye’s specified artistic selection is too complicated to understand, or they question his taste simply because they do not like it. Speaking as someone who is a big fan of Kanye’s blog, I believe that Kanye has great taste in fashion, art, and music. However, although there are some others who do not understand what Kanye likes and his taste, I usually do not argue with them because it is ridiculous to force others to like what I like. It is that simple. Nevertheless, on the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) Sunday night, one of my favorite musicians of all time seems to have difficulty in learning this rule.

On the VMAs Sunday night, Kanye West’s outburst directed at Taylor Swift (Best Female Video) was more than just a shock to me. He interrupted her acceptance speech, saying “Yo Taylor. I’m really happy for you. I’ll let you finish. But Beyonce has one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!” Taylor Swift was shocked, as anyone would be. My jaw hit the floor. Kanye was asked to leave immediately but remained the talk of Twitter last night. Following the incident, celebrities like Katy Perry, Pink, and Paramore’s Haley Williams took to their Twitter accounts to express their disgust. Swift’s close friend, country artist Kellie Pickler, left a harsh comment on her Twitter, which I won’t quote due to inappropriate content.

I generally support Kanye endeavors even when everyone thinks he is wrong. For example, his song “Love Lockdown” received harsh criticism by the public when it was released because he sings instead of raps. I endorsed the song because I believed that Kanye’s artistic expression was completely different from everything out there. Even when he was arrested after a scuffle at Los Angeles Airport, I did not blame him, but this incident seems out of character. Kanye may be right. Beyonce may have more talent than Taylor Swift and may have one of the best videos of all time. However, I cannot believe that Kanye also missed the fact that some people actually really like Taylor’s video more than Beyonce’s. It is reckless to force one’s taste upon others, just like I cannot really compel others to like Kanye because I do.

Actually, this is not the first time Kanye forced his preference onto others. In 2006, Kanye West crashed the stage at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Copenhagen to complain about losing the award for Best Video to Jeremie Rozan and Martial Schmeltz, saying he “should have won the prize for [his] video ‘Touch The Sky,’ because it cost a million dollars, Pamela Anderson was in it. [He] was jumping across canyons.” While I’m writing this article, just a minute ago, Mr.West offered an apology to Ms. Swift on his blog for his behavior, saying “I feel like Ben Stiller in “Meet the Parents” when he messed up everything and Robert De Niro asked him to leave… That was Taylor’s moment and I had no right in any way to take it from her. I am truly sorry.” Well, we all make mistakes in life. It is right to mend broken bridges. But considering the detrimental repercussions it caused, I guess the best thing you can do is simply not make such a mistake. Pres. Obama also called Kanye a “jackass.”