Kanye West’s rant takes center stage

Alexa Spieler, Arts Editor

Despite recently explaining how he has changed at the Ellen Show, Kanye West proved otherwise at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. Initially, West appeared facetious toward Beck, as he approached the stage to interrupt him earning the Album of the Year award, triumphing over Beyoncé.

West could’ve played the entire stint off as a joke, but rather, he decisively chose to reveal in a post-show interview that he wasn’t joking, as he said, “Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé … You all know what it meant when ‘Ye walks on the stage.” Despite previously claiming that he’s learned to “shut up more,” West couldn’t have appeared to be more of a hypocrite.

West apparently presumes his opinion is more significant than that of the National Recording Academy. Based on his actions, it seems as though West believes he can determine who needs to respect artistry. It has become evident that perhaps West should take his own advice.

That isn’t to say that Beyonce did not create a substantial piece of work with her self-titled release, but he also has no right to take away the win from Beck, whom prior to the 57th awards, had not won a Grammy since 2000. It also isn’t being questioned that Beyoncé is the more successful, popular artist — but the Grammys aren’t a popularity contest; that’s why the fan-voted awards exist. The Grammys do not rely on fan votes or on who sold the most albums, but instead recognize artistry and, in cases like Beck, give hope to the underdogs.

Healthy competition is justifiable, but completely ripping apart an artist and ruining his moment of triumph in the spotlight leads to disdain and lack of cohesiveness in an industry where artists should be fighting together to keep it alive and prospering. All in all, it is West who needs to recognize artistry. After this stint, it is clear that West owes both Beck and the National Recording Academy an apology.

It is critical to remove fans’ adoration of an idealized view of Beyoncé from the picture and focus on West’s immense disrespect towards the awards show, the music industry, and primarily, Beck. The Grammys are supposed to be a night where successful artists are honored for their work. For one night, music experts bring together industry professionals and expose them to various genres. It is an opportunity that artists might not experience at other awards shows, as some shows are primarily concerned with featuring the most popular music. The Grammys are a night for togetherness and mutual respect. Kanye West intended to teach Beck to respect artistry, but in doing so, showed himself to be the one who needs a lesson.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 11 print edition. Email Alexa Spieler at [email protected]