OPINION: Kanye West shows disrespect at awards

Josh Rouse

Rapper Kanye West managed to make an arse of himself in front of millions of people Sunday night during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

During Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for the Best Female Video Award, 32-year-old West stormed onstage, took the microphone from Swift and said “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ll let you finish, but Beyonce [Knowles] has one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!” He then handed the microphone back to Swift, who was at a loss for words. The crowd booed West as he walked off the stage but gave Swift a standing ovation.

The broadcast cut to a shot of Knowles, who was also up for the award for her song “Single Ladies,” looking shocked and embarrassed at the outburst by West. Knowles came onstage later to accept the Video of the Year award and called Swift up to the stage to have her moment of glory.

Prior to West’s interruption, 19-year-old Swift was expressing how happy she was to win her first VMA award and thankful that, as a country artist, she was able to win the award. West displayed a great lack of respect for himself, Taylor Swift, the awards show and all the fans who voted. While he has been controversial in the past, including several similar outbursts during award shows and saying “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during a Hurricane Katrina telethon, his rebellious history doesn’t excuse him for taking away a great moment in a young artist’s career.

West has since apologized to Swift in his blog, but the damage is done. He overshadowed the first VMA award given to a young emerging artist, he overshadowed Knowles’ Video of the Year award and he even managed to overshadow a night that was dedicated to Michael Jackson, who is a major contributor in the current popularity of music videos in the mainstream.

Given his history of outbursts followed by released albums, I fully expect an album from him in the next few months… and I hope it bombs. Swift is a wildly popular artist among teenagers, so the fallout is expected to be pretty major for West. However, I think even those who aren’t supporters of Swift will still find a reason to boycott West’s music.

I wonder if Swift-who is well-known for writing songs about boys who have scorned her-will save a special place on her next album for Kanye?