The Grammys Lesson

taylor 2016
Taylor Swift and her three 2016 Grammys, including Album of the Year

 

This year’s Grammys have really stirred the already boiling pot that is 2016. And I think for all the right reasons.

I don’t follow celeb news slash gossip anymore – anything I know about celeb whereabouts and doabouts is that which I’ve incidentally seen on my Twitter feed. I used to be OBSESSED – logging onto Perez Hilton every day – thankfully I’m clean.

One thing I did take notice of was the news of Kanye West’s new album dropping and something about exclusivity and something about his being broke and something about asking Mark Zuckerberg to buy into his delusional bullshit. What stood out was his insistence on bringing up Taylor Swift in a new song and how he “made her famous and how he may still have sex with her” (misquote).

kanye taylor

I think it’s important to my point that I say that I’m not a die-hard Swifty. I love 1989 and listened to it on repeat for quite a while. I did, however want The Weeknd to win the best album Grammy. So I dig her – but I’m not a fan on a rampage to defend her and applaud her musically.

Swift’s response to Kanye’s latest drivel – and her persistent way of dealing with him – does so deserve the attention it’s getting, over and above her musical achievement. She didn’t need to name “who” in her Grammys speech, but simply handed out the sit down card through addressing the REAL issue behind West’s continued passive-aggression towards her:

sexism.

I know a bunch of people may roll their eyes at that and even stop reading. I mean, we’ve dealt with so many issues regarding sexism and racism in 2016 already, right? So can we move on already, right?

And of course the answer to that is – fuck no.

I am so into the ‘done with the bullshit’ revolution that is happening globally. From the activism around the shootings of so many innocent black people in the USA (#BlackLivesMatter) last year along, to Fees Must Fall and Penny Sparrow awareness – we are FINALLY (and I only say this hopefully with no certainty) moving somewhere. People have been oppressed and suppressed for SO long that they can no longer bear the chains. Women are unapologetically women and they are no longer standing for the manipulative shutting down techniques of the modern misogynist.

Cue the Taylor Swift response in the video below. I didn’t fully realise until I watched that acceptance speech mere moments ago, that that’s exactly what Kanye has been doing to a woman who by all accounts is a damn hard-working, talented individual: he’s been taking away her power. Systematically undermining her at what seems to be every opportunity because what HE thinks is the truth. Don’t get me wrong, I realise that Kanye’s problems are deep, dark and painfully stupid – but at the core of this there is that seed of misogyny that so many people still seem to nurture.

Because ACTUALLY – how dare the MTV awards even allow him onto the stage during her acceptance speech? How dare his friends Beyonce and Jay-Z laugh while he did it? Albeit in surprise and probably the same shock as Taylor’s. (On a tangent – how dare the Grammys let him do the same thing to Beck last year. Megalomaniacal sociopath.) And how fucking dare he claim to have “made” a woman. She’s UP ON STAGE ACCEPTING AN AWARD BASED ON HER EXISTING ACHIEVEMENTS AND FAME – and he can take her work away from her by claiming his mere presence in front of her in her moment of joy, created her? Fuck this kind of enduring sexism that’s allowed to continue because he’s “Kanye West”. I know I don’t care a damn who he is anymore. This man calls Africa a country – I have no time for a single thing he says.

 

2009 MTV Music Video Awards
2009 MTV Music Video Awards
kanye beck
2015 Grammy’s where Kanye ‘mock-charged’ Beck’s acceptance speech

 

It’s not like we’re so starved for rap/hiphop stars that Kanye still deserves his self-proclaimed Black Jesus status. I’d much rather listen to someone like Kendrick Lamar – whose performance at the Grammys was undoubtedly the best I’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for a Black Jesus I’m far more inclined to think it’s him. Knowing that he’s unlikely ever to claim such delusional heights of omnipotence, but anyway. I can’t pretend to know a lot about To Pimp A Butterfly but I can tell you it’s been added to my iTunes library and I’ll be paying attention, not only based on the Grammys performance but also because I’ve heard so many awesome things about the album. But it’s clear from what I saw that this is a man not scared to say what needs to be said in this advanced year of such prehistoric backwardness. Not, “I made that bitch famous” kinda brave, mind you.

(Can’t a find a decent not copyright removed vid of Lamar’s performance – but watch it, it’s incredible.)

I hardly feel like I’m uncovering some neglectfully unturned rock here. It was a personal epitome that made me realise why I actually am really happy that Taylor took that award instead of my personal choice. If it gives her the chance to swipe back – and so gracefully I might add – at that brand of belittlement, then bravo. We should have an awards season where every woman and person of colour nominated for an award wins that award – for no other reason than it took so much hard work – far above the craft – to get where they have.

Let’s keep this fight going, 2016. I like it.

 

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