By now, if you’re alive, you’ve most likely heard about the Kanye West/Taylor Swift incident. For those of you who haven’t – in a nutshell – Mr. West interrupted Ms. Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV VMA’s on Sunday night – claiming (more or less) that Beyonce should have won – which left Taylor speechless as they cut away to the next portion of the show.
One day later Kanye appeared on the new not-quite-Tonight Show with Jay Leno (I thought Leno retired, all he did was move to a time that I’m actually awake to watch him). Regardless – before coming out to perform Kanye came out for a brief interview to address the situation that happened the night before. Take a couple minutes to watch the following clip. A few thoughts after the jump:
(1) We can debate the genuineness of this exchange, but what I see is one of the most ‘real’ moments on television in recent memory. Kanye feels like a jerk (and rightfully so). Heck, even the President is calling him a jackass (off the record). Kanye realizes – maybe a little too late – that his celebrity status holds him to a higher standard than you and me – that more people are watching – that when he pulls a stunt like this, Wikipedia pages are thwarted and entire social networks implode.
(2) Jay Leno is good. Why? Because he’s not afraid to say what other people are thinking. He doesn’t hesitate to put his guests on the spot. He asks Kanye what he thinks his mother would say if she were still alive and saw him do this. Those of you who have followed Kanye West over the past few years know how close Kanye was to his mother. Is it tasteless to bring her up? I don’t think so. I think it puts things into perspective that Kanye isn’t above everyone (or anyone) – he’s a human being just like you and me – that he’s not invincible and he can’t get away with murder.
(3) This entire situation makes me think about a concept I’ve written about before. This idea that you can be the best at what you do; the best rapper, the best athlete, or the most famous celebrity – you can have the talent – but if you don’t carry yourself in a respectable way, if your attitude isn’t kept in check, what will you be remembered by? Will Kanye be remembered as one of the greatest rappers of our generation, or will he forever be remembered as the guy who left 20,000 fans waiting at Bonnaroo until 2am, the guy who stole a 19 year old girl’s moment to go off on a rant?
Leno hits the nail on the head and helps put things into perspective. If you’re wondering whether or not you should do something, questioning if your actions are right or wrong, ask yourself, “What Would Mom Do?”
What do you think? Was a lesson learned here? Is Kanye remorseful? Should he be sorry? How should an individuals PR be handled after something like this?