Archive for kanye


Posted in LIFE IN GENERAL / RANDOM RAMBLINGS, THE HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE CLASSROOM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2015 by erikball123

Upon reading this I fear that the Kanye secret service will be deployed, and my body will never be found and you’ll never hear from me again…so read quickly.

I have to address the Grammy Awards and the absolute disgrace of a man known as Kanye West. I say man, rather than artist, because I want to be very careful in how I distinguish him. An artist is someone who creates original work which is to be enjoyed by others, hopefully inspiring them to create something original themselves, ultimately making this world a better place. While this isn’t the standard Webster’s dictionary definition…I’ll stick to it. A man is someone who respects others, defends others, loves others and leads by example. Kanye West is no man.

Beck won Album of the Year, and I must admit these things before I continue so that there isn’t any confusion. I didn’t watch the Grammy’s, I don’t own a Beck album, I don’t own a Kayne West album, I don’t own a Beyonce album. I’ve listened to songs from all albums (I teach high school, for the love of God. Even if I didn’t want to hear, they get rubbed off on me by proxy, like some weird audio mono) and I want to make the bold statement that all three artists in my opinion are talented, creative, worthy-of-an-award artists. I would also like to recognize that Beyonce (who has won 20 career Grammy’s, more than any other woman) and Kanye West has won 21 career Grammy’s (at the young age of 36). With that said, I must subject you to Kanye’s comments to Vanity Fair after he stormed the stage (ala: his embarrassing, most-likely-drunk, moment when Taylor Swift won the Grammy in 2009) as a “joke” to protest Beck’s winning Album of the Year. He turned around and sat back down before saying anything this time…but the message was sent. Here are his comments:

KANYE WEST: “I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t going to play with them no more. And Beck needs to respect artistry, and he should have given his award to Beyoncé. At this point, we tired of it. What happens is, when you keep on diminishing art, and not respecting the craft, and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration. We, as musicians, have to inspire people who go to work every day, and they listen to that Beyoncé album, and they feel like it takes them to another place. Then they do this promotional event, and they’ll run the music over somebody’s speech, the artist, because they want commercial advertising. No. We not playing with them anymore. And by the way, I got my wife, my daughter, and I got my clothing line, so I’m not going to do nothing that would put my daughter at risk, but I am here to fight for creativity. That’s the reason why I didn’t say anything tonight. But you all knew what it meant when ‘Ye walked on that stage.”

Here’s what I’d like to address: the messiah complex. From a simple drama teacher’s perspective, who is desperately attempting to nurture and foster a working relationship with young artists everyday, these comments and attitudes, create a sort of status symbol that, by virtue of Kayne’s mere influence in the music industry alone, woos young impressionable minds into thinking that these actions and comments are okay. Justified even. Mr. West refers to respecting artistry. What about Beck’s art? Mr. West refers to the Grammys not respecting the craft. What about respecting the awards ceremony that has blessed Mr. West with 21 previous awards? He says Beyonce was smacked in the face after delivering a monumental feat of of music. Isn’t that merely one man’s opinion? Apparently the governing, voting board thought otherwise. Isn’t that okay? (After all this is just another man or woman’s opinion. Why does your opinion carry more gravity than another’s, Mr. West?)

The problem is not the awards ceremony, not the Best Album of the Year award, not Beck, not Beyonce….the problem is the mainstream media and the music industry. This sort of behavior is unacceptable and to use a word that Kanye loves to use: “DISRESPECTFUL.” This is nothing more than a powerful producer’s little-boy tantrum…and he knows he can get away with it. (After all, he’s done it before without repercussion. Hell, his and Taylor Swift’s career THRIVED after the outburst in 2009. Even more testament to the fact that the world lives and breaths based on what is fed to them.)

People who get SO powerful, so big, so untouchable (people like Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Kanye West…etc.) they forget what it is to be a human being, someone who must RELATE with others…someone “in the trenches” dealing with life on an everyday basis. How are we supposed to co-exsist, if mega-stars like this refuse to live by simple, thoughtful morality-based rules that we hold each other to every day. If anyone else rushed that stage during Taylor Swift or Beck’s acceptance speech….ANYONE at all….security would have pounced on them. But, Kanye, he’s above the rules and law.

On a much watered-down level (although one might argue, equally as important, at least to them), this mentality is what plants the notion in students’ minds that when they aren’t cast in the role they believe they deserve, then it’s perfectly reasonable to BLAST the director or student who did get the role. (At least behind their backs, right?) It’s the same mentality that tells society, that a rule of order, especially a subjective / creative one, is not a strong-hold and subject to public scrutiny if any one individual so chooses. (Look at all the frivolous lawsuits out there! “I think they’re wrong, because I don’t think that’s the way it should be!!”) It’s nothing more than glorified, attention-seeking temper-tantrums and it’s ruining this generations perception of what it means to be a true artist.

No one has the right to an award. No one has the right to assume that their agenda is more important than another. And certainly, no one should use someone’s celebrated achievement or recognition to float their own agenda or demand attention. That’s nothing short of being a sore loser. (With an emphasis on “loser.”)

I asked a few of my students what they thought of the matter. They responded “I thought it was hilarious. I don’t know Beck…but it’s just Kayne. It’s something he would do.” *Sigh*

For the record, I have nothing against Kanye West or Beyonce…and I’m not a Beck fanatic. I merely think that young artists today have very few role models…someone to demonstrate that it’s the ART that’s important, not the exposure or attention or legacy or power or money or awards or clothing line AROUND the art.

No doubt Kayne will be all over the news today because of his actions. He’s the mainstream media’s babydoll. I betch we’ll hear about Kim Kardasian’s thoughts on the matter as well. And we’ve all seen the Vine of Jay Z’s reaction…because that’s important too. I’m sure that word will spread about Beck’s Album of the Year win, as well…but I doubt there will be any coverage that won’t feature news about West “pulling another Kanye.” I suppose that’s what makes me sick to my stomach the most.

I’d better go. I must get back to my world and a job I take great pride in, and one that gets harder and harder with every year as this world shape-shifts into a land of right-fighters and Google-schooled know-it-alls.  It’s a world of high school theatre where impressionable visionaries are born and discover hidden treasures within themselves. It’s an Indiana Jones 4-year window and it’s my duty to ensure they use their powers for good, not evil. It’s a privilege of directing, nurturing and mentoring…or as I call it, shaping little Kanye’s into selfless artists.



Practice makes perfect

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2009 by erikball123

I think I’m having a “bad example of a Christian” kinda day. I was watching my Tivo’d “AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL” (I’m a reality show junkie and I admit it. I’m getting help.) There was a contestant….Ashley, or Stephanie….or Vanderpeep! I don’t remember…anyway, she was a self-proclaimed Christian. She kept saying over and over “I’m doing it for Jesus! I want to be a model for Jesus Christ!” And after ever little, tiny, contrived victory she would run around with her hands in the air screaming “Thank you Jesus Christ!” Of course, everybody hated her. I was mad at her as well, fo making Christianity look bad.

Later on that day…I sat eating Ruffles and suckin’ on a Caffeine Free Diet Coke, chatting with a college friend on Facebook. I paused for a moment so that I can skip over to a photo “comment conversation” in which one of my graduated seniors dropped the F-bomb. (All Caps…bold. Oh, yeah….the real deal.) So, being the upright, thoughtful Christian I am…I proceeded to tell her that she should consider a different line of communication and that I’d de-friend her if she didn’t.

I even snarled at a middle-aged man at church today because I didn’t like the cut of his jib.

What’s wrong with me!? Seriously. I find myself more and more EFFECTED by things that most would consider un-Christian like, and feel the need to lash out…and then I turn around a break the rules myself!

We all swear. All of us. I’ve stubbed my toe on the corner of my bed 74 times and each time I paint the walls with profanities! (Mrs. Ball always laughs at me too…which is a topic for another blog.) I’ve found myself finding great “release” after dropping an F-bomb. (And by the way, I’ve decided to give up golf.) I’ve done it! So what gives me the right to criticize? Some have gone as far to say that all Christians are hypocrites.

Remember those WHAT WOULD JESUS DO bracelets? (They came before those plastic yellow ones Lance Armstrong made famous.) They were trendy….and trite. But seriously, I suppose we’re all sinners and have a long way to go…but perhaps that’s the best way to revert to a more sensible state of mind. What would JESUS have us practice? Being loyal isn’t enough. Practicing what you preach should be the goal.

Of course those model girls were on the defensive from the beginning because Vanderpeep was so bloody demonstrative about her faith. She crammed it down their throat. Why? Who knows. Attention? 15-minutes of fame? Maybe she’s an alien. (I’m convinced all celebrities are.)

We can’t just force our beliefs on people…like Kanye grabbing the mic during an acceptance speech and making him look like the biggest jerk in the industry. As long as there is a single fan to stand and applaud him, people will continue to feed on attention and do what they think is right, instead of TRY TO PRACTICE what’s right in the eyes of the Lord. (I didn’t think Beyonce’s video was all that kickin’. Not enough to beam down from the mother ship and stomp on someone else’s moment, anyway.)

So…I suppose I should sum this up. I’m having a grumpy day. One of those days when you wish you had five more hours before bedtime so you can verbally assassinate “The Hills” and Katie Couric’s haircut…and kick the cat. And as I get older, I suppose in my vain efforts to remain connected to the mainstream vernacular, whilst simultaneously quickening my pace to a jog in my walk with Christ….I find myself backtracked, distracted and fooled. So instead of playing Rummikub with the other groaning Christians who have nothing nice to say…I’m going to double my efforts to practice what I preach. Practice makes perfect. It starts now.

I suppose the devil has a few tricks up his sleeve after all. He’s a limely bugga. (But notice I didn’t use the F-word. Pretty good, huh? DANG IT! I did it again! Okay, okay…it starts….now.)

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