Wednesday, September 16, 2009

...I Really Wish You Would...

~an ode to Kanye West~

There are two things that bother me about the Kanye West incident at the 2009 MTV VMAs.

  • The first being, the way some people are reacting to it.
  • The second being, well, the way some people are reacting to it.

If there’s anything I’ve witnessed consistently through the years is how certain people love to tell you what they would do, particularly in threatening, or other negative situations. It’s pretty funny.

By “certain people” I mean “hood” “urban” “ghetto” “trailer” “pwt” “slum slugs” “dump bunnies” take your pick, but ultimately people that might not have much else going for them beyond an interesting attitude. No matter how old, famous, or far removed these people are from their original environment, they can’t ever seem to fully shake this mentality. Hence the saying, “You can take the kid out the street, but you can’t take the street out the kid” (or some variation of that).

By “what they would do [in]…negative situations” I mean, those people that say, “Now if it was me, I woulda blah, blah, blah…” I saw a lot of celebrity clips after Sunday with a number of individuals that were definitely “certain people” saying what they would have done had Kanye West come up and taken the microphone from them during their acceptance speech as he had done with Taylor Swift. Most of them were pretty violent, some were just ridiculous, but I will venture to say all of them were lies.

In actuality they would have stood there looking stunned just like Taylor did, and stumbled over the rest of their speech if they could even get that far. That’s what everyone else does when their speech gets interrupted, except for Fred Durst, who encouraged his speech interrupter (Tim Commerford, Rage Against the Machine) to “stage dive, dude.”

Notice I said everyone else, because Kanye wasn’t the first or person in history to crash an award show segment. Who can forget Ol Dirty’s “Wu Tang is for the children” heartfelt assertion during Shawn Colvin’s win at the Grammys? And whatever happened to that Soy Bomb guy?

Kanye won’t be the last person either to invite himself to the party. In fact, he wasn’t even the last person that same night! Assuming you didn’t fall asleep on the otherwise boring show, I’m sure you saw Jay-Z blow off Lil Mama during this performance at the end of the night.

My point is people that usually talk about what they’re going to do very rarely do it, probably because they’re too busy talking about it.

I’m reminded of a fire at Steve’s Soul Food in Detroit a couple years back. Black people swear in a building emergency they would be the first one out the door, but the fire fighters were surprised to arrive at the scene of the fire and find customers still sitting and eating and staff still working. I’m thinking, “who are these fools?” only to find out later that my Mom was one of them. She stopped in for a carry out and claims you couldn’t see flames but you could smell smoke and see it “a little” but no one else was running out so she just picked up her order and left. I asked her did she see fire trucks, and she said, “Well yeah, but I just thought they were coming to get lunch. They weren’t really rushing in or anything.”

Mm hmm. Well,so much for what you think you would do in whatever situation.

The other reaction is one I don’t want to give a lot of time or energy to. It seems to me that this story is continuously being described in nearly the same way every time: This beautiful, young, innocent [blonde] girl is just trying to accept her award when this (insert derogatory adjective and/or pronoun here) Kanye guy comes up and ....”

The descriptions of what he does vary a bit more and seem to be getting worse with every re-telling of the story:

… he grabs the mic and starts yelling that he thinks Beyonce should have beat Taylor Swift in the category.

…he grabs the mic and starts yelling at Beyonce.

…he grabs the mic and starts yelling at Taylor Swift.

….he grabs the mic and beats Taylor Swift with it while Beyonce cheers.

And since everyone feels the need to point out what a “beautiful, young, innocent blonde girl” she is, they’re on the verge of accusing him of eye-ballin’ a white woman 1950s Mississippi. Some versions conjured up images of Fay Ray being swooped up and carried away by King Kong. (And yes, one morning DJ I heard actually used the words “ape” and “monkey” to describe him.)

And reporters that speak to her seem intent on getting a soundbyte of her saying she was afraid of him. But I guess she honestly wasn’t (and she shouldn’t have been) so she’s at least smart enough to not say it (or too dumb to know she’s being goaded into saying it.)

So why all this intense overreacting? There wasn’t this much back and forth when Joe Wilson shouted “You lie!” at President Obama during his health care reform speech just a few days earlier. (Which by the way, had you or I done that, we would be at the least in jail with some bruises, at the most shot dead onsite).

Is this a race thing? Age thing? Gender thing? Are we still in the mindset that a black man is dangerous so if he’s on the receiving end, who cares, but if he’s on the giving in, duck and cover?

I think we are. I think ever since Obama got elected some people that felt mildly threatened by minority power are feeling incredibly threatened and they’re forming an angry mob. We have to control these uppity negroes before things get out of hand…. And no healthcare reform!

Now, it’s possible I’m reading too much into the angry responses but it’s hard not to when you’ve heard and read things from radio, television and the general public via the internet that say things like, “someone ought to hang that filthy nigger.”

Of course, since we live in a world of people either highly medicated (or in need of medication) it’s also possible that I’m reading it just right and these angry people should seek therapy and/or otherwise be ignored.

Either way, my final thoughts on this are as follows:

First, Kanye West has apologized to her and to the public and should be forgiven. And he should probably also be tested for Traumatic Brain Injury, because he definitely shows signs. How hard did he hit his head in that car accident anyway?

Second, Taylor Swift will be fine. She’s young, she’ll bounce back. Plus, to me, aside from being funny looking, she seems a wee bit “slow” so who knows if she even knows what happened really.
 Finally, MTV should be thanking their lucky stars that anything interesting even happened at this year’s ceremony, but next year they should hire better security for the stage (people jumping on that thing all night) and perhaps consider hiring professional hecklers to avoid any controversy

Statler and Waldorf give their opinion on the controversy surrounding
the 2009 MTV VMAs

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