Courtesy of i.huffpost.com
“I’mma see you if you ain’t standing up, believe me. I’ve very good at that.” So said Kanye West to a crowd of fans at his arena concert in Sydney on Friday night. The show was going as planned until around halftime, West said “I can’t go on with this show until everybody stands up… unless you got a special handicap pass and you get special parking and shit.” Apparently, he meant for that last line to be an clever add-on. But two audience members actually had that pass, special parking, and the rest. And West was serious – he reiterated that he really wasn’t going to continue until each person rose to their feet. After about 30 seconds of rousing the masses, he walked across the stage and pointed at someone to his right, asking, “Is he in a wheelchair?” The crowd immediately surrounded the kid booed, and the rest started cheering “Stand Up! Stand Up!” West continued: “There’s literally two people left, there’s two. They don’t want to stand up…. This is the longest I’ve had to wait to do a song, it’s unbelievable.”
The first of the sitters knew how to make herself known – she waved her prosthetic limb in the air until Kanye told her she could sit. “Okay, you’re fine,” he said. The other fan was still sitting, trying to respond loud enough for Kanye to hear that he was, in fact, wheelchair-bound. Others around him starting yelling “YES!” as Kanye continued to ask “Is he in a wheelchair?” Eventually, he sent a bodyguard down into the crowd to check. When the guard responded in the affirmative, Kanye said, “He’s in a wheelchair? He’s fine,” and (finally) launched into his song “Good Life.”
Over the last 24 hours, most social media outlets went crazy, (“Who does Yeezus think he is to command the lame to walk?” is the most common joke). On Twitter, fans called the incident “insensitive” and one said “Oh, he IS in a wheelchair? Play the song!!” There was that one time, however, that Kanye gave his microphone to a fan in a wheelchair at a performance in Austin, Texas. It’s safe to say that his insensitivity was not a result of a strange bias. Accidents happen.