Celebrities have been and will always be defined by their crazy antics which seem inconceivable to the average Joe. Whether it’s Gaga showing up to the VMAs styled by Boar’s Head, Marilyn Manson using the American flag as toilet paper, or beating up Bavarian mobsters in a hotel like one part of Oasis, musicians love getting into all sorts of eyebrow-raising situations. While nearly every artist has done one or more questionable things in their career, there are certain individuals that stand above the rest, crowned champions of delusion standing alone on a precipice made entirely of clinical narcissism and removal from reality. The self-anointed leader of such celebrity nonsense is none other than Kanye West. Of course, Kanye is known for doing many things—letting Taylor Swift finish, asking wheelchair bound concert guests to stand up, calling people squid brains, eating ice cream. But at the VMAs, during a night filled with other surprises in range from savory to plain bizarre, Kanye wasn’t about to be left behind in a cloud of normalcy.
West was nominated for and received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at Sunday night’s Video Music Awards, and the stage was already set for some trademark drama before Kanye even opened his mouth. Taylor Swift—who made off with multiple awards for her popular videos for “Blank Space” and “Bad Blood”—presented the award, referring her infamous, career-making encounter with West at another awards ceremony. So, things were already looking juicy when Kanye went up to accept his award. What happened next however was both entirely unpredictable and entirely predictable—unpredictable in its sheer absurdity, yet expected because, hey, it’s Kanye, and we should all honestly be used to it by now.
What followed the transfer of awards and obligatory cheek-kisses was a torrential downpour of word-vomit without a thread of continuity but with enough ridiculous, rant-y elements to entertain even the most stoic, sour, and anti-celebrity hipster. After he took shots at the media and awards shows in general and admitted to being only slightly high, West ended his speech with a final epithet that might have been heard round the world: “And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided, in 2020, to run for president.” Yeah. And you thought Trump was bad.
The thought of First Lady Kim Kardashian is, at least in my own mind, equivalent to a blood-soaked, nightmarish hellscape. Although who knows, maybe dresses reminiscent of footballs or baked potatoes will become Jackie-O-esque fashion staples for the next generation. But is West’s declaration reason for concern, or just comedy? He once decided (or threatened) nonsensically to change his name to Martin Luther King Jr. as a publicity stunt to promote his Louis Vuitton shoe line (yeah I’m drawing a blank on the connectivity aspect there) and that didn’t exactly pan out.
And in general, should we be taking weird and wacky celebrity antics as gospel, or even bothering to get upset or excited about them? Lots of crazy things happened at the VMAs, seemingly a reminder of just how run-of-the-mill musician craziness is. Miley Cyrus showed up half naked, begging the question why don’t you just save yourself some money and actually show up naked if you’re looking to upset people, Nicki Minaj called Cyrus out (and a bitch) for badmouthing her in an interview, and the lackluster host also spontaneously dropped her new album Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz mid-show.
Really, acting out like Kanye or Cyrus or Minaj is just another iteration of the musical media circus. Check back again in 2020, but I doubt Kanye will remember his ridiculous promise, although the internet will make sure it goes down in digital infamy.