I am done, When I say I am done!
How a Kanye West performance changed my life
It was about 10 years ago when I was sitting at and home cruising through the channels. Back in those days “channel surfing” was how I passed the time. I decided randomly to turn to MTV and the “MTV Video Music Awards” happened to be on. Being that I had nothing better to do, I watched for bit then surprisingly the commentator was saying Kanye was about to perform. I thought to myself how interesting this might be. I believe less than a year passed when, how I like to call it: “The Taylor Swift incident happened. He was presenting the Grammy to her for winning a slot in the “best female artist category” when Kanye took it upon himself to deny what the polls said, steal the trophy and then give it to Beyonce instead. Him stating “I am sorry Taylor Swift, but Beyonce had the greatest hit of all time.” I am certain that whether or not you follow pop culture you likely heard about that day. Neither I nor the press forgot about it either because up until the time when Kanye was supposed to perform the commentator was making jokes about it. I was surprised to see him perform again so soon because I thought his career was over. I mean really, how does one make a comeback from doing something like that?
These days I am rarely impressed by performances anymore. There are a few that stick out a bit in my memory, but most I forget about soon after. However, the Kanye West performance I was about to see still stands in my mind as in a league of its own. I have seen other great performances but still even today, I haven’t seen anything quite like that one.
The person introducing Kanye left and the lights got low. No lights were on, save the LEDs that were imbedded into the stage and the stage lights overhead. Kanye came out in a slim fit red suit, a black tank top, gold chains and red sneakers. I normally am not the biggest fan of wearing sneakers with suits but this time it worked. He casted a dazzling presence over the black and white background. I thought to myself “of course if anyone, Kanye could pull that off.” He walked center stage and there sat a beat machine and he started to play the song that I would learn would be called “Runaway.” The melody started as follows: “Ding, ding, ding, dong. Ding, ding, ding, dong. Ding, ding, ding, dong.” While still on the beat machine he started to add more to the sounds to the mix and before long a upbeat melody was playing. I still remember myself starting to rock back and forth, enjoying the music while wonder what would be next. Next thing you know the lights came on he started to sing the lyrics and at the same time Ballet dancers came out too, yes ballet dancers. They came out on stage prancing at a fast pace. Behind them flowed these long Tan pieces of cloth. The performance was just getting started but I was already drawn deeply in. Kanye then started to sing the lyrics: “I always find something wrong, you been putting up with my stuff just way too long…” keep in mind this song had never been played before the audience along with me was memorized. The artist Pusha T came out to do his part and you could just tell he was feeling the music because although I heard him rap before, I never heard him that enthusiastic. Him and the audience were in complete sync because even as he performed, he was swept into the moment. Perhaps he could feel he would be a part of history as well. Apparently in an interview a couple of weeks after the show, he stated how he believes that was the greatest moment in hip-hop. I can’t really say if that was the best performance Kanye ever had, it is his decision to make, but I do know that was the best performance I ever seen him in. If I had to rank it, that performance would be just behind when Michael Jackson first did the moonwalk on “MoTown 25.” It was just amazingly iconic. At, the end when the lights came down Kanye said the final verse, behind him the railing was put up and sparks fell down from it. Then it was over. The crowd was me and the world was in a state of awe. Kanye, waved and then walked off stage. It was a short delay before the audience started cheering because we were still hypnotized.
At that moment, the world more or less split in two. There were people who knew about Kanye and saw the performance and people who knew of Kanye and didn’t see it. The people who saw the performance were no longer talking about the Taylor Swift incident. It’s simply because when you witness history being made you no longer care about some crazy stunt he pulled. I for one knew that I would be a Kanye fan for the rest of my life. I am also guessing that some time from now Taylor Swift would be remembered only as the lady Kanye once stole a trophy from. Meanwhile, Kanye would continue being a legend.
I like right now to really analyze what happened. I along with the rest of the world that that Kanye was done. I thought that he may go on for a time but then fade into the background, but I was wrong, oh so wrong. While I and the rest of the world were thinking that Kanye had different plans. While the world said its over Kanye said, “oh no. I am just beginning.” He individually flipped the narrative about him and gave the people something much more interesting to talk about.
When he made that performance, he made a statement to planet earth that said “I AM DONE WHEN I SAY I AM DONE. I AM FUCKING KANYE WEST!!!!”
Its been said that a bet against a champion is a bad bet. When we find sumbling blocks we convert them to stepping stones. We convert misery to motivation. We say “we are going to win. Whatever it takes. Period.”
What I learned
Off and on in my personal life I find myself afraid to make mistakes. If your childhood was anything like mine, we were subjected to the same plan to how our life would go:
Step 1. Go graduate high school with great marks
Step 2. Go to college and do the same there.
Step 3. Get a good job at a stable company
Step 4. Find someone to marry, buy a house and have kids.
Step 5. Retire.
We were told and told again that mistakes are horrible. Mistakes meant death. We must follow this plan to the letter and if you failed at any step your life was over!
However, this is not true. In fact, it is very far from it. Just like when Kanye West decided to make a decision that caused many people to dislike him if we make a mistake, it can be corrected. As the words are being typed I am currently 30 years old. I know there are people that done more than I have but for the most part I do believe I seen and been through a reasonable amount more than most people my age. These days I know that my parents and teachers were trying their best, but they were terribly mistaken. I seen and spoken to people who dropped out of college and are currently making $200,000+ a year. I am certain we both have met a number of people who found a husband or wife, had kids but ended up divorcing. We seen people who seemly had it all but choose to leave all of it behind to pursue a different life. I have even met a few people who built up a massive fortune but lost all of it. One of the guys like that, chose to move on to the next life rather than live in poverty.
There is really one primary point I wish to make. The point is Its never really over unless you decide it to be. Life is forever changing and thinking you can guide it with some made up list someone else created for you is insanity. Most of the plans and rules that worked in the past have little to no application in today’s time. I have no idea how mating worked in the prehistoric times but I would imagine if you brought the women you were attracted to a deer you killed and then told her to bear your children in today’s time she would think you were insane. If one were to do that thousands of years ago it may be different story.
In closing just how Kanye decided that his career isn’t over, I believe we all have that capability. We all can move forward and create something great regardless of what age we are. I personally hope to continue to make mistakes so I can learn from them. I feel like if we don’t make any mistakes we aren’t really trying anything new anymore. If we aren’t trying anything new, what’s the purpose of us being here? Please remember that and press on.