Kanye West: Awards Aren’t the Only Measure of Art (OR Celebrity in the Age of Celebrities)

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s, Dennis, had a hard time a few weeks ago when he found himself being rated (very low scores) by women on a group-dating site. Dennis is usually a charming sociopath; he is witty and charismatic before ultimately disappointing any possible paramours by avoiding contact or outrightly disrespecting them. But now, completely overcome by a desire for good ratings, he forgot how to be charming, and was solely focused on his one star rating. He finds himself very wounded by the low ratings and questions his previously offensive behavior regarding women. The episode was particularly rough because he kept screaming at women during dates, “I’m a 5 star man!” Eventually, he frivolously realizes that self worth comes from self-delusion. Here enters the 5 star man of delusional reality—Kanye “I feel like I’m too busy writing history to read it” West.

In 2009, he stormed the stage and seized the microphone mid-speech from a then 20-year-old Taylor Swift who had just won Best Video of the Year for “You Belong to Me” at the VMA’s to praise Beyoncé’s (admittedly great) black and white booty pumping “Single Ladies” as “one of the best videos of all time.” West stole Swift’s moment to offer an unnecessary and meaningless opinion. Many people voiced their baffled disapproval including 50 Cent, Pink and Barack Obama among others. His name was in the headlines, not for being an artist, but rather for being a “jackass.”

Now, 6 years later at the Grammy’s, Kanye “I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means” West is married to a babe, father to a healthy child, a successful producer, rapper and designer and he turns what could have been a cute, self-deprecating yet still unfunny stunt of pretending to take the stage into a rant about industry stealing or mistreating “artistry.” His post-show foolishness is needed to provide context: (quote)

“I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t gonna play with them no more. “Flawless,” Beyoncé video. And 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 keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration. And 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, that, you know, they’ll run the music over somebody’s speech, the artist, because they want a commercial advertising. Like no, we not playing with them no more. And by the way, I got my wife, I got my daughter, and I got my clothing line so I’m not going to do nothing to put my daughter at risk, but I am here to fight for creativity. That’s the reason why I didn’t say anything tonight. But y’all know what it meant when ‘Ye walked on the stage.”

Putting aside the horrible grammar, which was certainly not taught to him by his English professor mother, we find a personal stream of consciousness punctuated with subjective opinions and artistic delusions of grandeur. Why does he care so much about who wins a category where he wasn’t nominated? Beyoncé won Best R&B Song. And why does he consider Beck’s artistry so inferior that he should relinquish his Best Album to the Queen B? Beck made a chill album and the voters decided it was best. Why must we hear Kanye’s opinion? It’s because of his self-righteous self-delusion that has now become a force of society. His self-indulgent, selfish, self-centered, self-aggrandizing quotes are easy to find on the Internet, and somehow, millions of people love it! 11 million followers on Twitter, hundreds of thousands of FB likes, sold out T-shirts and sneakers. If the old saying of 50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong, what is to be said of West’s narcissistic mess? Does interjecting opinions mean you can be relevant or influential? Yes, when you are a celebrity. (Ask Jenny McCarthy.) Right or wrong, celebrity is power. And Kanye “My greatest pain in life is that I won’t be able to see myself perform live” West is most certainly a celebrity. He and Jay-Z are tied with 21 Grammy’s apiece, he’s sold millions of albums worldwide, three of which were included in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest, he was included in Time’s 100 Most Influential, West designed Nike’s sell for thousands on Ebay, a plain white T-shirt bearing his name sells for 120$ and he’s married into the family famous for fame. His fame delivers a vessel for his ego. His fame keeps him relevant. His fame makes him visible to me. And I am bored of it. I’ve got some opinions of my own Kanye “I am the number 1 most impactful artist of our generation” West. I think your music is mediocre, your shoes are ugly, your t-shirts are exorbitant and bland, you’re exploiting your young and/or poor fans with clothing at such ridiculous price points, your girlfriend is hot and dull, your face is creepy, your personality is forced antagonism, your rapping talent is specious, your behavior is ignorant and obnoxious, your attitude is contrived, your life is tedious self-promotion and you offer less to the world than you think. In fact, his charity disappeared after donating no money toward the foundation. His foundation, co-sponsored by his mother, was to help curb rampant teenage dropout rates in urban high schools, yet his first album was called “The College Dropout.” It’s a real twisted message you’re sending to the young kids Yeezus. I’m aware of my envy for his lifestyle and power of promotion. But it’s a disgusted envy, much different than my delighted envy for Jimmy Fallon.

What Kanye “I am a proud non-reader of books” West misses in his misguided torrent of twaddle after the Grammy’s is that losing or winning an award doesn’t provide or detract merit from the piece of art. Van Gogh never won an award for Best New Painter, Picasso has no Best Sculpture Statuette, Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin have never even been nominated for a Grammy and Snoop Dogg, Bjork and Mos Def have been nominated several times but never won. Does their deficiency of gold reduce their impact? Awards are just opinions of influential people; much like your inconsiderate words and insipid tweets.

The harsh truth is that Kanye “Michelle Obama cannot Instagram a bikini pic like my girl Instagrammed the other day” West might have a point. Yes, Beyonce could also have won. Beyonce’s “Flawless” song isn’t the best beat, but the words are inspirational. A poem about gender struggles by a Nigerian woman is incorporated to fantastic results within Beyonce’s call to women that they are all beautiful, although she confuses me by telling other bitches to bow down to her. I might have missed that point.

So, Beck deserves any artistic credit he gets, as does anyone who endeavors an artistic undertaking. Unfortunately, that goes for you too Kanye “You should only believe 90% of what I say” West. Just because I dislike you, your music and your brashness doesn’t mean you aren’t an artist that others can enjoy. But I still only give you one star.

Kanye West

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2 thoughts on “Kanye West: Awards Aren’t the Only Measure of Art (OR Celebrity in the Age of Celebrities)

  1. It begs the question, what is an acceptable degree for someone to express egotism and unsolicited opinion in this day and age? When someone takes a mindset to its most extreme dimensions it’s easy to scoff and seethe. But how can one measure one’s own level of narcissism? Is it quantifiable? Can one consider oneself a decent person if he or she she is only half the conceited jackass that Kanye is? Or 25%? Or 1%? There are people out there who might consider an unsolicited blog post response decrying an unsolicited twitter opinion to be the height of irony. Or an unsolicited user comment decrying an unsolicited blog post response decrying an unsolicited twitter opinion to be a level of irony that would have been unfathomable only a few years ago. But this is the age we live in. Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude. And the Dude for this day and age just might be Kanye.

  2. I would answer the begged question as this: What art is solicited? (Perhaps the Medici and Vatican sponsored Renaissance painters??) Is any form of personal opinion warranted or desired? Is there a person, so wise and so infinitely interesting as to never upset anyone by giving his or her thoughts? The point I was trying to make is that just because Beyonce or any other non-winning artist loses an award doesn’t make their art less justified. For Kanye West to discredit Beck as an artist less than another was his mistake. Kanye “the Dude for this day and age” West is completely entitled to his opinion, and so am I. If you disagree, you are also entitled to write the ironic user comment. We all want to be heard or express ourselves, and there lies the genesis of art. But art’s worth and/or beauty is always subjective.

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