Here’s the whole Today Show interview that prompted Kanye West to cancel his performance scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving and “fall back a bit on interviews” for the time being. (He tweeted that it was “very brutal,” that it left him feeling “very alone very used very tortured very forced very misunderstood very hollow very very misused.”)
‘Ye felt they were exploiting him by talking George Bush, Taylor Swift, etc., and rolling footage of these moments as he spoke. Matt Lauer’s response: “It’s something we do every day: When a guest is talking about an incident or a location, we run video of that location or that incident. There was nothing improper about it, nothing unusual about it whatsoever.”
I can understand Kanye’s annoyance. Even indie artists are often pummelled with the same annoying questions over and over again, so I can imagine how many times Yeezy’s had to respond to questions about the already-grating “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” and Taylor Swift fiascos — many crassly or poorly articulated, no doubt. They’ve become monsters of their own, drawing attention away from some of his ridiculously creative, original work as of late. (Runaway short film, anyone?)
But it’s also expected that a major media outlet is going to ask him about the things he’s made the most international headlines for in the past year. These are questions that, for better or worse, many people want to hear the answers to. Also, consider this is The Today Show — not Behind the Music or Sunday Night Sound Session, where the focus is on the craft, an artist’s passion and vision, the making of the music. It’s a light, celebrity-centric, breakfast-time talk show for the masses, with a smidgen of news.
Some media organizations will want an interview so badly that they’ll agree to avoid certain topics — and they’d be wholly in the wrong for breaching that after agreeing to it — but I’m guessing this wasn’t the case for Kanye’s interview. I also agree with Lauer that there’s nothing improper about playing a clip of the Taylor incident while discussing it. That said, I think that whole thing was overblown, and didn’t deserve 1/4 of the attention it garnered. Bush was newsworthy because he had addressed Kanye’s criticism in a recently released book, calling it “one of the most disgusting moments of my presidency.” (And Kanye was very humble and mature in his response before he got pissed off.)