Professional Famous Person Kanye West first burst into the public consciousness as a great defender of truth, justice and Beyonce at the 2009 MTV VMAs, rallying against the injustices of society in a way that the faceless mobs of citizens at home could only dream to, violently asserting that one pre-fabricated, over-produced pop singer was better than another…
But the erstwhile future Mr. Kardashian was not the first to terrorize an Awards Show stage nor would he be the last, it wouldn’t even be the last time he did it. Read on, but only if your eyes can handle the unmitigated light of truth.
The 1998 Grammy Awards had two of our favorite instances of crashing. First, late, great Wu Tang Clan Legend Ol’ Dirty Bastard interrupted Shawn Colvin’s (remember her?) Record of the Year acceptance speech for Sonny Came Home to protest the grievous tragedy of the Wu having lost the Best Rap Performance Grammy to Puff Daddy (as he was then called) earlier in the night. Colvin is understandably shaken up, Sonny didn’t come home to Staten Island.
The same fateful night saw the birth of Soy Bomb. Performance Artist Michael Portnoy was hired to be an background Extra during Bob Dylan’s performance but instead decided to storm the stage with the words “Soy Bomb” written on his bare chest. Many thought Portnoy’s disturbingly shirtless gyrations were part of the show, but no, Portnoy acted of his own volition. When asked about the meaning of “Soy Bomb” Portnoy said: “Soy… represents dense nutritional life. Bomb is, obviously, an explosive destructive force. So, soy bomb is what I think art should be: dense, transformational, explosive life” Riiiiiiight. Portnoy wasn’t arrested or detained for his shenanigans but the Grammy organizers did decline to pay him his $200 Extras salary. That’ll teach ‘em.
The 2000 VMAs saw Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford climb the giant structure behind the podium and stage a sit in in deference to Limp Bizkit (who were either shrunk on their way to the show or had to borrow their dad’s clothes) winning Video of the Year. This pointless outburst is usually cited as one of the many reasons that Rage broke up shortly thereafter. Thanks Tim! …fucking idiot.
Lethal Protector Kanye West returned to the fray at this year’s Grammys, coming *this* close to but stopping just short of interrupting Alt Rock Elder Statesman Beck’s acceptance speech for Record of the Year. Kanye needn’t speak though, his presence was felt and that was enough. In interviews after the show Kanye admitted that he was going to protest the loss of, you guessed it, Beyonce. If I was Jay-Z I’d get a restraining order. Kanye then apologized to Beck on Twitter, showing that he is an amiciable and righteous King.
So what’s next for Kanye and the art of Awards Show Stage Crashing? Whenever there are wrongs to be righted and Beyonces to be defended, Kanye’s light will shine brightest. He’s not the Kanye West we need, he’s the Kanye West we deserve. And hopefully one day he will let us all finish.