Kanye West deserves our thanks. The gift he promised — or threatened — following the 2015 Grammy Awards is priceless.
In the middle of a rant about the terrible injustice of Beck winning Album of the Year, Kanye had a moment of brilliance. Pure brilliance. As in — I hope he’s flooded with heartfelt thank-you notes from sweet little lace-sweatered grannies across the country. It’s that brilliant.
“We ain’t gonna play with them no more,” he told E! in an interview right after the awards show.
While I don’t know what Kanye meant exactly, I’m going to interpret it in the broadest possible sense, because that gives me the most possible hope.
Maybe this means he won’t be attending the Grammys — no more.
That he won’t be hogging the spotlight and delivering long-winded tirades — no more.
And that he won’t be subjecting us to his classless, money-flaunting, crotch-grabbing persona — no more.
If you missed the Grammys, you’ll need a little context. There were five nominees for the night’s most coveted prize — Album of the Year. They were: Beck’s Morning Phase, Beyoncé’s self-titled album, Ed Sheeran’s X, Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour, and Pharrell Williams’ Girl.
He wasn’t even expecting it, which made it all the more delightful. His wide-eyed, walk of excitement seemed genuine. Although he’s been nominated for Album of the Year twice before, this marked his first-ever win for the biggest prize. And although he’s won three Grammys before, the last one was 15 years ago. So this? This was pretty amazing for him, all the way around.
But when Beck took the stage to accept his award, Kanye jumped up, ready to steal the spotlight. Hundreds of faces in the audience went wide-eyed in horror for that split second, fearing he might pull a repeat of his 2009 VMAs performance — the one where he interrupted a young and awestruck Taylor Swift, to say that someone else deserved her award.
That split second passed, and Kanye hopped back off the stage. He sat down — phew. Bullet dodged. Relief, smiles, even nervous snickers and giggles could be seen amongst the Grammy-goers.
Good one, Kanye, they seemed to be thinking. He’s poking fun at himself. Yeah, he’s already performed, already taken his share of the spotlight, but this ill-timed moment of comic relief might just show a quirky bit of character.
It was a nice thought, affording him the benefit of the doubt. Sadly, those who thought it turned out to be wrong.
Kanye wasn’t trying to be funny. He was just being himself. He fully intended to ruin Beck’s moment in the spotlight, but for some reason — maybe a look of embarrassment from pal Jay Z or wife Kim K — he thought better of it at the last second and opted to save his rant.
“The Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us,” he said in his interview with E! after the show. “We ain’t gonna play with them no more. Flawless Beyoncé video, and Beck needs to respect artistry, and he should have given his award to Beyoncé. At this point, we tired of it… What happens is, when you keep on diminishing art, and not respecting the craft, and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration… No, we not playing with them no more.”
All of that foolishness because Beck won, and Beyoncé did not. I should probably disclose that I’m not a Beck groupie. I haven’t heard a single song on his award-winning album. I’ve heard some of his work in the past, but it’s not really my style. Still, I think the way he handled the situation shows what an incredibly classy and humble and genuine guy he is. Beck brushed Kanye’s attacks off by saying Kanye deserved to be on stage as much as anybody, acknowledging that Beyoncé’s album was indeed worthy of an award, and then, saying Kanye was a “genius”. I hope the last part was high-brow sarcasm, but I tend to think it wasn’t, and for that, I have to give him bonus points.
Because let’s face it — Kanye peed in the sandbox, and Beck just kind of shook his head and laughed it off.
It really is kind of like one giant Kindergarten sandbox, when it comes down to it. There are musical artists in every possible genre, and everybody is playing together, albeit in different ways. Some are building sandcastles, others are scooping up and pouring out shovels full of sand, delighted in the artistry of those perfect little heaps that form below. And then, there’s the kid who doesn’t quite grasp the concept. Because I guess sandboxes can be hard. You know the kid I’m talking about, right? The one who is throwing sand in the eyes of other kids, after having taken a tinkle — or a poo — over in the corner. Yeah. That’s the one.
That kid is Kanye.
I champion the cause of beauty in its many forms. When people poke fun of others for their appearances, their abilities, or their personal decisions, I am incensed. But boorish, self-serving behavior? For that, I cannot be a champion. In fact, my tolerance level is rather low.
So when Kanye West says “We ain’t gonna play with them no more”, I find myself doing a little cheer.
Because maybe, just maybe, that means he’ll be going to another sandbox. Maybe that means I won’t see the latest faux news tidbits on his wardrobe, or his musical artistry, or his intimate escapades with wife Kim Kardashian. Maybe it means I won’t see the almost-everything-bared fashion statements, the gold this-and-that, the in-your-face, break-the-internet, give us attention for anything and everything because we are Hollywood Royals charade.
And maybe that also means there will be no tinkling — or pooing — in the sandbox, at least for the time being.
Sarah Elizabeth is a wife and mother residing in a small Southern town filled with rolling green hills and thousands of kind, beautiful faces. She once enjoyed a life with a slightly faster pace as an award-winning television journalist, and marketing professional, but these days, her life is much more quiet. She writes about her daily observations, experiences with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, chronic illness, and occasionally, her love of Jane Austen. Latter-day Jane is her blog. Click here to follow her on Facebook.