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PARKER: VMA speech wins first vote of confidence for Kanye

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn
September 07, 2015 - 9:31 AM

Kanye West yelled the words “f--k that bro!” into his microphone at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles and proceeded to make a frighteningly thoughtful claim about the state of the arts in the modern world at the MTV VMAs last Sunday, Aug. 30.

“I just wanted people to like me more,” West states, halfway through his Video Vangaurd Award acceptance sermon. Was it an apology to the still-bleeding Taylor Swift? Not exactly, but it was the start of something that had equally as much potential.

After watching Miley Cyrus parade around in an array of nothing, making marijuana jokes no one found funny, this wasn’t the dreaded Kanye speech America was prepared for. It was long-winded and slightly illiterate, sure, but it was genuine — something which can’t be said for the majority of the show.

Between the spandex and the gyrating and the lip-synching and the appearance of Snoop Dogg, West’s speech proved to be a breath of fresh air. Presidential candidacy announcement aside, he got an outstanding round of applause for his opinion on what it means to make good art.

“I will die for the art!” he said, “For what I believe in. And the art ain’t always gonna be polite!”

An Amen went up. Swift threw her hands over her mouth and squealed. Kim Kardashian nodded like she knew what her husband was talking about.

And then, “To all my fellow artists: just worry ‘bout how you feel.”

“Just worry about how you feel” seemed to be a followed instruction only twice during the award show in it’s entirety. Once, during the pre-show, where Swift [may or may not have] farted during an interview and then again, immediately after Justin Bieber’s performance of “What Do You Mean?” when he broke down and sobbed into the flailing hands of the [still?!] teenage audience. Authenticity at its finest.

The rest of the show seemed to be about wowing the crowd with pyrotechnics and off-color jokes.

While the VMAs have always been a place for the unusual and the controversial, one can’t help but feel like the days of the sparkly beige body suit once donned by Britney Spears were really a golden-era of sorts. Controversial was still controversial, not downright lewd — Miley, I’m looking at your polkadot-covered privates.

When did music become more about pushing the boundaries of the audience than pushing the boundaries of the song?

Early 2000s pop sensation Pink called the awards show “embarrassing” and “sad” on her personal Instagram page — a grand statement from a woman who, despite immense talent and political savvy, once released a song with the lyrics “I can’t take direction/ and my socks are never clean/teachers dated me/my parents hated me.”

By informing the host, Cyrus, she could do whatever she wanted on the evening, MTV itself seemed to throw its hands up in the air and say “we don’t know what people want anymore”  — a frustrated cry from the network that has so far managed to capitalize on everything from Prince to pregnant 16-year-olds. And even that tactic didn’t work.

To call the MTV VMAs a show this year is to be overly flattering. It was an unorganized display of amateur personal performance art. The least offensive of which was a speech by one of the most arguably offensive performers of this decade who, for once, didn’t live up to that part of his reputation — teaching all the other contributors of the evening that just because the art isn’t always going to be polite doesn’t mean it isn’t art if it is.

— Andria Parker is an Instagram-obsessed idealist with at least 600 words to share on every topic, ever.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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