That’s the only picture I managed to take while at the BET studios on Wednesday. Kanye West was in the building to discuss his thirty-five minute film Runaway and me being the Yeezy fan that I am, I had to be there. I’d headed straight to Manhattan after working an overnight shift and getting off at seven o’clock; it was a ride that rounds out to be over an hour long. I was alert though, so it was cool. I meet up with my running buddy Tiff and we head to CBS to see…nobody in line.
We got there at 9:30 and I asked the receptionist where should we stand because I’ve never attended any taping relating to BET ever in life. I told yall, I don’t deal with them whatsoever but this is Kanye we’re talking about. I had to be there. So we post up for three hours before we get wristbands and get rushed inside to sign release forms that never got used because as it turns out, SOMEBODY at BET got their wires crossed: first, it was supposed to be an interview complete with an intimate audience then that idea got cut. By the time the idea was cut, the emails and calls had been made to potential audience members and we all show up.
They couldn’t turn us away so we were told, once inside, that we could not make a sound and that we would be able to hear the interview as it happened. Honestly, that was fine with me because I’d come to see Kanye and as long as I got to see him, I was straight. So after long ass minutes of torture provided by these “magicians” (please believe I was throwing shade the whole time), the studio got mad quiet upon the arrival of Kanye. We all look to the screen and saw him hug Rocsi and greet everyone on set. Everyone except us.
Once he was seated and a few minutes passed, I heard him say, “Yo.” Rocsi asked him what was up and he replied, “What’s happenin’ over there?” Apparently, he caught eyes with a couple members of our audience and had no clue there was one. She mumbled to him the explanation I just gave and Kanye said, “Oh cause I ain’t know what that was”. We chuckled then quieted ourselves to hear some wisdom being dropped.
The interview BET aired after the Runaway premiere tonight is the first ten minutes of their sitdown. As they talked more, though, Kanye felt it necessary to go in on exactly why he speaks out as much as he does and how critics picking apart his art affects him so. To be honest, it was one of those “you had to be there” type of things and my mind’s capacity is pushing some of this stuff out unfortunately but I do remember two distinct things:
- As he went on about critics and how there’s a miscommunication between his music/actions and people’s interpretations of his intentions, Kanye candidly said that after growing up in a household that held extremely high female influences between his mother, grandmothers, aunts and others the absence of a strong female in his life drives his love for the music he puts out. When critics bashed him to the point where his livelihood was in danger (thanks to the Taylor Swift incident, his clothing line was pulled, tour was canceled and it was basically considered career suicide for anyone to even mention his name in a positive light; tough shit to deal with) and since his strong female base is lost due to the absence of both his grandmothers and mother, a girlfriend and even a daughter to feed the void inside, his protection for his craft hits overload which results in occurrences such as the VMAs. LAYMAN’S TERMS: Not being able to love as he once had due to the absence of the women who loved him best turns Kanye into an “overly” passionate artist who will stop at NOTHING to protect what he’s created because it’s the one thing he allows himself to love most in this world.
- Adding to the critics’ sentiments about him (he had tons to say about them), Kanye starts to point out how everyone’s so quick to say “he’s a Devil worshipper, he’s gay, he’s in the Illuminati” then pauses for a millisecond to pose in such an aggressive tone – “Do the people even know what the FUCK an Illuminati is, that’s saying this shit about me?!” I swear, we all DIED at that moment because it summed up exactly how us stronger minded folk feel about the Illuminati bullshit. It’s such a great quote that needs to be published somewhere, it really does.
Kanye also talked about how black men are so wrapped in trying to portray a certain image that they limit themselves thus keeping them from being influential in fashion because they’re too worried about seeming “gay” and whatnot. I’m not making this up, I promise. There’s more but it’s slipping my mind so I’m wrapping this up.
After the interview wrapped, we all were wondering if the audience coordinator was going to make good on his promise to get Kanye to say hello since we were lowkey brought there on false pretenses. I heard a hearty “WOO” from across the room and looked up to see the MAN who’d just rocked my intellectual world, Mr. Kanye to the, walk over to our area wearing the biggest, blinginest (that’s a word today) smile I’ve ever seen in person! There were about sixty people there and he shook each and every one of our hands graciously. One girl started crying and she got a hug out of him, which I thought was dope, and the guy behind me got complimented on his jean jacket. See, ‘Ye gives props when they’re due. I would have taken a picture of him but the studio was mad dark and this was the one day where he decided to wear all black so you wouldn’t have seen anything but the diamonds in his mouth [lol].
Kanye in person was everything I’d expected him to be and for this to be my first time seeing him in the flesh, I’m midkey glad that it was for this and not a concert. Now it’s time for the concert! Here’s the film Runaway for your viewing pleasure and I’d like to say that I wasn’t putting any of this out there to insult Kanye and make anyone upset: I just thought that the interview was one of the more thought provoking pieces I’d seen and felt somebody who wasn’t there should hear it, even if it is a small excerpt of it. Kanye is the man; act like you know!