On a night set to recognize musicians past and present, Kanye makes it solely about himself


There’s a formula to most awards shows — especially the Video Music Awards. You would think Kanye West knew that, considering he’s a self-proclaimed expert on pop culture. Case in point: Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” beat out Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” for Best Female Video. However, “Single Ladies” won for Video of the Year. Simple logic states that, if “Single Ladies” is the Video of the Year, it should also be the Best Female Video since Beyonce, as we know, is a dame. But the VMAs don’t work that way. They never have. When MTV lost its edge over 10 years ago, the network turned into an advertising agency instead of an important voice covering all things music. It wouldn’t be good business to have Beyonce win both awards. By spreading the love around, MTV is essentially recognizing the artists that have been the most lucrative to their business. Last night, nobody walked away with multiple trophies — because there’s a formula.

I always assumed Kanye was privy to this knowledge. When he jumped on stage and forced the mic out of Taylor Swift’s hands, the younger generation was undoubtedly excited. More stars! More stars! To those who think of Kanye as a trouble-making crybaby, they could sense he was up to no good. Shouting that his friend Beyonce’s video was “one of the best videos of all time,” he proved he doesn’t “get” the give-and-take ethos of pop culture at all. He’s just as clueless as the millions of adolescents that stayed up late to root for Taylor Swift.

Kanye’s assessment was correct, of course. “Single Ladies” is artistically creative, utilizing lighting and choreography to a dazzling effect — much more tantalizing than Swift’s run-of-the-mill product. Still, I wanted Taylor Swift to win and when she did, I hung on her every word as she beamed with gratitude. I knew Beyonce would capture Best Video of the Year later in the evening, so this truly was “Taylor’s moment.” Thus, Kanye West has effectively become the villain of the free world. Asked to leave, he blogged from his pad in New York:

I’m sooooo sorry to Taylor Swift and her fans and her mom [Andrea]. I spoke to her mother right after and she said the same thing my mother would’ve said. She is very talented! I like the lyrics about being a cheerleader and she’s in the bleachers! …………………… I’m in the wrong for going on stage and taking away from her moment!…………….. Beyonce’s video was the best of this decade!!! I’m sorry to my fans if I let you guys down!!!!! I’m sorry to my friends at MTV. I will apologize to Taylor 2mrw. Welcome to the real world!!!! Everybody wanna booooo me but I’m a fan of real pop culture!!! No disrespect but we watchin’ the show at the cribe right now cause…. Well you know!!!! I’m still happy for Taylor!!!! Boooyaawww!!!! You are very talented!!!!! I gave my awards to Outkast when they deserved it over me… That’s what it is!!!! I’m not crazy yall, I’m just real. Sorry for that!!! I really feel bad for Taylor and I’m sincerely sorry!!! Much Respect!!!!!

The post, actually written in all caps, was soon taken down. I’m sure Kanye’s agent noticed the blatant insincerity. Here’s what he’s currently been able to muster:

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.

Setting things right, after accepting her Moon Man, Beyonce invited Taylor Swift to the stage to give the acceptance speech that Kanye West prevented hours earlier. It was a nice moment, considering Swift’s humble attitude is years removed from the “look-at-me” persona cultivated by Kanye West.

Still, we all owe Kanye a huge “thank you.” He’s reminded us that musicians are under the scrutiny of the public eye as well. Funny enough that this happened on a night paying tribute to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Tabloids, comedians, and half-assed reporting ostracized Jackson from society. The depression it caused, it could be said, led to his death. America has the uncanny ability to bring stars to life as well as kill them. I’ve heard quality pundits state, concerning Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, that if we don’t stop with the constant ridicule, they could be dead in 10 years. I couldn’t agree more. While I don’t think America will “hate” Kanye for more than a few months, viewers could sense the visceral scorn at any mention of his name. Kanye will continue to sell millions of albums and have a lengthy career. Regardless, he’s now public enemy number one in Hollywood. All it took were a few words.

So, we’ll see how this plays out. He couldn’t have picked a more juicy moment as he’s scheduled to perform alongside Jay-Z and Rhianna tonight on the premier of “The Jay Leno Show.” Will the crowd boo Kanye? Will he even be there? Either way, Leno’s probably wishing he had booked a safer act like, I don’t know, Neil Diamond.

“The Jay Leno Show” premiers tonight at 10 PM PT/ET on NBC.