Kanye West recently stopped the world like only he could with the premiere of his entirely-not-safe-for-work video for the Swizz Beatz-produced track “Famous.”
Premiering exclusively on Tidal, the 10 minute video features Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Kim K., Ray J, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Amber Rose, Caitlyn Jenner, Donald Trump, Anna Wintour, Bill Cosby and George Bush, all naked, and all in the same bed.
The concept was inspired by Vincent Desiderio’s iconic ‘Sleep’ painting, and although the naked celebs in “Famous” are a combination of impersonators and synthetic figures (sans Kanye West), the video is as thought-provoking as it is controversial.
Immediately after “Famous” aired, social media exploded with people frantically trying to decide if the video was a pure stroke of genius or just another stroke of Kanye’s ego.
To the naked eye, one would perceive “Famous” as a ten minute boob-laden snooze fest, made for total shock value to intentionally “break the internet.” However, if you dare to step outside of your comfort zone for just a moment, there are various ways to decode “Famous” that’s best interpreted in the eyes of the beholder.
On Twitter, one of the most popular and most opinionated social media platforms, some people completely dismissed the video altogether and chalked it up into Kanye simply wanting attention. Others looked beyond the exposed celebrity flesh to understand the true meaning of what it means to be famous.
I personally feel that to be famous is to be exposed. You are stripped of your privacy so much that you might as well be naked. I also feel like the actual length of the video is a huge message as well. The fact that it’s 10 minutes long is synonymous to how much time we waste idolizing celebrities. The camera focusing on Rihanna’s breasts for 30 seconds straight is no different than ogling her Instagram page for an hour or so.
Many of us spend time wanting to know about the personal lives of celebrities that we forget how time-consuming and invasive it is. Then when Kanye gives us a ten minute bird’s eye view of celebrities in their most vulnerable states, it’s too much.
Celebrities also gave their perspectives of “Famous” which is truly interesting being that they are in the same environment as Kanye himself. Erykah Badu tweeted, “Mr. West opens a dialogue: human vulnerability & the sacrifice of intimate space for the consumption of entertainment.” Her viewpoint is another think-piece within itself and adds to the beauty behind the controversial madness of “Famous.”
Despite how you feel about the video, the underlying fact is that Kanye successfully executed what he sought to do in the first place: make us slow down enough to take in his art and dissect it accordingly.
The man set out to challenge us with his art and it’s working, very very well.
At the end of “Famous,” the credits roll, thanking everyone who was featured in the video…for being famous. I chuckled and said to myself that the man’s a genius. Who else can make a video just as famous as the celebrities in it?
Tia Renee Scott is a professional freelance writer and music journalist. This self-proclaimed dope ass unicorn can be found on Twitter at @Tia_The_Writer.