Kanye West’s acceptance speech in the Video Music Awards last night was a bigger Second, on a larger stage.
West was onstage for approximately twelve minutes, but for a number of these minutes he just basked in applause, squandering MTV’s airtime while showing dozens of microexpressions: pensive, humbled, rebellious, terrified.
For a decade now, West has made a habit of saying just what he desires to say on live television.
T might be no one-arguably not even Obama-who is better at this than Kanye West.
Yet I also believe that something real is happening when Kanye West, in the process of saying essentially nothing, brings himself to tears and a crowd to its feet.
When West said, “George Bush does not care about black people,” and when Obama sang “Amazing Grace” at Clementa Pinckney’s funeral, they were performing the country’s catharsis in a way that transcended the typical bromides.
Kanye West mightn’t be Presidential-for one thing, he cares way too much concerning the Grammys, a pseudo-event if ever t was one.