Listening to my friend Mitch Henck’s radio show earlier this week, it’s apparent his audience doesn’t really know much about Kanye West, which is not a bit surprising. They were expressing their outrage that he made a fool of himself at the MTV Video Music Awards show Sunday night by interrupting the acceptance speech of a 17-year-old country singer (Taylor Swift).
It was only the latest in a long line of inappropriate, childish displays from West.
Mr. West believed that his friend Beyonce should have won the award for best video, and interrupted Swift’s speech to tell the world about it. Monday night, on the premiere of Jay Leno’s new 9 PM comedy show, West apologized (again) and looked dumbstruck when Leno asked West how his late mother would have reacted to his outburst on the awards show.
Then Ms. Swift appeared on “The View” and the girls had a gab-fest about the incident.
These awards shows are so frequent that it’s hard to tell them apart any more. Apparently today’s young performers are so insecure they must constantly assure themselves that they are award-worthy. And the shows, which have for the past five years provided all sorts of entertainment for the under-30 crowd, have morphed into grotesque displays of boorish behavior.
Just a couple weeks ago at a music awards show in Milwaukee, two people were shot.
Mr. West’s history of infantile behavior goes back to 2004 and something called “The American Music Awards” (see what I mean….there are scores of these shows every year), when he stalked off the stage and out of the event when he didn’t win Best New Artist. (Gretchen Wilson did.)
A few months later, in that nationally-televised-all-the-networks-carried-it-live telethon to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, West informed the nation that George Bush hates black people.
The next year at the MTV European Music Awards (I’m not sure if they have an awards show for every geographic region of the world, but I think they do) West stormed the stage when his video did not win, and informed the viewers his video should have won because it cost a million dollars and featured Pamela Anderson.
In 2007 West threw a hissy fit backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards
demanding to perform onstage during the show, but MTV didn’t cave. And last year at the Grammy awards (are you keeping all these awards shows straight?) he won for best rap album, but in his speech he told fellow rapper Common not to release any albums the same year as he did - presumably so West wouldn’t have “competition” for the award.
So this childish display by West Sunday night, when most of us were watching the Packers and Bears, was just another example of how so many young entertainers are not prepared to deal with anything they perceive as “disrespect”.
And, how many entertainers can say the President of the United States referred to them as a jackass?