An Open Letter To Kanye West


By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

Dear Kanye,

What is it with you and MTV?

Even on a West Coast time delay, seeing you make a fool of yourself on live television because of a teenager – and I’m no Taylor Swift fan by any means, but she at least seemed to honestly enjoy winning Best Female Video That You Can Probably Only See On MTV27 These Days – wasn’t as bad as realizing you’ve still got this need for love from that channel.

Really, Vegas should be laying odds on you now: over/under on how long ’til KW trips. Remember the ’06 Europe Music Awards, when “Touch The Sky” lost to Justice and Simian? Here’s a (NSFW) reminder. Remember your suggestion at the 2007 VMAs that Britney opened instead of him because “maybe [Kanye’s] skin’s not right”?

As a means of explanation – but not justification – for his complex, I’m willing to buy that your time at Roc-A-Fella wasn’t the healthiest. Jesse Thorn brought this up Sunday night:

In fact, even after Roc-A-Fella signed Kanye as an MC, they figured they could let his career die on the vine from benign neglect. Kanye talked Talib Kweli into giving him an opening spot on Kweli’s tour, and then West put out a mixtape on his own dime. Then Kanye got in a car accident and nearly died. When he was in recovery, he recorded a song about the accident while his jaw was wired shut. The Roc didn’t want to give him any support, so he made his own video, with his own money, for a song that he didn’t have the money to clear the sample for, and that song became a hit.

But, instead of taking heart from defying even your own label’s expectations … I don’t know what to call it anymore. You win four Grammys but can’t get over not winning a Moon Man. You flare up at South Park before backing down. And really, what did you achieve Sunday? Standing up for Beyonce? No, she had to play third banana to both you and Team Taylor. I mean, props, I guess, on getting Ricky Martin, of all people, to curse “in public.” And at least you were quick about putting up an apology:


Janet2009 The saddest thing for you, as a music fan, was this: last night was the first VMAs in years that was mostly about the music. The opening Michael Jackson tribute seemed off-kilter until Janet Jackson’s appearance; the shots of her dancing alongside the video of MJ in “Scream” was a more elegant tribute than both Madonna’s eulogy and the parade of dancer/impersonators that preceded her. Beyonce’s reprise of “Single Ladies,” with a phalanx of dancers behind her, did what the best VMA performances should do: breathe new life into a song that was played out months ago. Jay-Z’s rendition of “Empire State Of Mind” with Alicia Keys benefited from Jay’s WrestleMania entrance. Even the house band, led by Kid Cudi and Wale, sounded competent. And then there was Pink. I wish you could’ve been allowed to stick around to see the show.

Instead, well, here you are. You’re Twitter Enemy No. 1; you’re the new Joe Wilson; and Beyonce trumped you by winning Best Video/Wedding Reception Staple Of The Year, yet still had to clean up your mess and give up the mic, setting-up the year’s pop-culture mind-schtup: a country artist becoming MTV’s belle of the ball. Hope it was worth it.