In Defense of Kanye West at the Grammy Awards

courtesy of urbanislandz.com
courtesy of urbanislandz.com

Although I personally believe all this media attention surrounding Kanye West’s comments during the recent Grammys is rather overdone and just plain stupid, I feel the need to address it from a different angle. During the awards show, Kanye poked fun at himself when Beck won Album of the Year by pretending to go up on stage and taking the microphone from him. Beck’s immediate response was to give the microphone to Kanye and let him speak his mind, but Kanye jokingly declined.

So far, so good. The 57th Annual Grammy Awards ended, and everything else was fine. Until later, Kanye West was asked about his real thoughts on Beck’s win over Beyoncé for Album of the Year, and, obviously, Kanye spoke his mind. He criticized the Grammys for awarding Beck over Beyoncé, because he felt that her self-titled album had more of a cultural impact than Beck’s Morning Phase. “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 a different place…. I am here to fight for creativity. That’s why I didn’t say anything, but you all knew what it meant when Ye stepped on that stage.”

In his dismissal of Beck’s album, Kanye even gives him a backhanded compliment, because he said he was there “to fight for creativity” and that’s why he let Beck have his moment uninterrupted. Although, in reality, these comments by Kanye should’ve been taken as strictly opinions, the Kanye-hating media decided to unscrupulously attack Kanye and bash him for speaking his mind.

Even Beck didn’t mind Kanye’s comments, and he also didn’t think he would win the award. He said, “I still love him and think he’s genius. I aspire to do what he does… I thought she was going to win. Come on, she’s Beyoncé.” So, great. All sides have shared their opinions, respectively outside of the show, and no one is hurt over them. However, for some reason, Shirley Manson (lead singer of Garbage), Brandon Browner (New England Patriots cornerback), Paul Stanley (KISS guitarist), Natalie Maines (Dixie Chicks), and Mark Ronsonall had choice words to say about Kanye West.

Now, just as these celebrities decided to attack someone’s opinion, I will attack theirs. Shirley Manson probably had the biggest support for her negative feedback towards Mr. West. “It is YOU who is so busy disrespecting artistry… you disrespect the talent, hard work, and tenacity of all artists when you go so rudely and savagely after such an accomplished and humble artist like BECK.” First off, Kanye never degraded the hard work or talent of Beck. He never lowered or even questioned Beck as an artist. He simply had the opinion that Beyoncé deserved it more, which most of America had the same opinion, including Beck himself. Paul Stanley had the more childish, standard KISS fashion of acting like a buffoon and tweeted that Beck “should’ve kicked Kanye in the nuts last night and said Get the f*** off MY stage!” Wonderful.

One of the worst and downright disgusting responses was from recent Superbowl Champion Brandon Browner. He also took to Twitter to unload a series of responses directed at Kanye’s class, and said he wasn’t acting as appropriately as other great musicians, such as Bob Marley, Tupac, or Jay-Z, which is just a silly argument to even get into, because all these musicians have different purposes, different experiences, different ideologies behind their music, and he very clearly does not understand Kanye’s. The worst tweet, however, was when he wrote, “If only I could’ve been Beck for one night. Kanye would be rapping thru the wire.” Kanye was in a devastating car crash back in 2002, where he barely survived and his mouth was wired shut for six weeks, and during the time he wrote one of his first breakthrough hits, “Through the Wire.” Now, thirteen years later, he is being threatened by some football athlete for simply saying he thought Beyoncé was more deserving of an award? Where’s the backlash for Browner? Why isn’t anyone up in arms about his completely repulsive comments?

What’s odd to me here is the fact that people are so quick to judge someone else’s opinion. It’s even stranger to me, because Kanye West is one of the most awarded artists in the history of music, and he has 21 Grammys. If anyone is allowed to state his or her opinion (when E! asks them for their opinion) it is Kanye West. Also, Kanye himself is known for giving away awards that he has won, because he felt another artist deserved it more. Fader recently published an article about how many times Kanye has offered to give his own awards to other artists. And yes, that is plural.

For someone like myself, who truly believes in the freedom of speech and allowing everyone to have a platform, this whole situation is rather irritating and downright idiotic. The media blasts Kanye for having an opinion and that is wrong. Shirley Manson (and Co.) is praised for belittling and attacking someone else’s opinions and that is wrong.

This whole charade is a misguided, miseducated, and misinformed debacle that unfortunately is stifling freedom of speech, creativity, and the music industry at large. From the moment that Kanye started making music, he always stated his opinion and he held his own ground. His whole image, his whole persona, and his whole music career is grounded in speaking the truth, standing up for yourself, and never backing down, so why is this even news? If Kanye was asked his opinion and he simply smiled, said he loved the show, and had no disagreements with anything, then that should’ve been news.

Recently, Kanye even clarified his respect for Beck to Ryan Seacrest “I just really didn’t want to take away from Beck’s moment… So I just walked back down because you know, it was kind of a joke like the Grammys themselves.” For an artist like Kanye, who has had numerous nominations from the Grammys, it’s quite amazing that he is so frank and honest about how out of touch the Grammys actually are. He is an artist who truly understands himself and the world around him, and he isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. He speaks his mind no matter the consequence, and that is something worthy of respect.

In an even more recent and bizarre update, Time is reporting that Kanye West and Taylor Swift will be collaborating together. See! If Taylor Swift, who physically had her mic and her moment taken away from her by Kanye at the MTV VMAs, can get over it, move past it, and even work with her once public enemy, you can too.

FDRMX Eyes: Nod One’s Head feat. Scorcher – Push It Good

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