Kanye West stormed the stage this past Sunday during Beck’s acceptance speech for Album of the Year at the Grammys.
That’s nothing new.
West has a habit of jumping onto an award stage to pronounce his distain for a winning act (he did this also to Taylor Swift a few years ago, which prompted President Obama to call him a “jackass”). It’s becoming a tad long in the tooth, sure, but isn’t it appropriate for Kanye West’s brand, after all? Whether you like it or not?
There is no denying West is a remarkable talent. In fact, there probably hasn’t been a more dynamic musical force in the past decade. He is relevant and outspoken, and he pushes the envelope with everything he does when he is in the limelight. It’s kind of expected that West would act as an outspoken proponent for his beliefs, even though it might alienate or confuse folks around him. That’s all part of his bit.
In fact, Beck looked a bit taken by surprise (as anyone would have) when West briefly protested the award.
After the ceremony West had this to say: “I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t gonna play with them no more. And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyonce.”
Now, I am not saying I agree with West (I thought Beck’s album was more than deserving of the prestigious prize). But West’s brand represents the “thorn in the side of the system,” allowing him to vocalize his feelings fearlessly. As a brand guy, I applaud the consistency in him.
Beck, being the great guy that he is, had nothing but kind words for West after the experience. “You can’t please everybody. I still love him and think he’s a genius,” said Beck. “I aspire to do what he does.”
That last bit rings true to me. Most “aspire to do what he does.” It’s this acknowledgment that has given West the green light to speak out.
Mark my words. He will do it again, too, when the time is right. It’s what his brand demands.