Kanye West bypasses press by going berserk on Twitter
Kayne West is unabashed. It’s why I like the guy, and it’s why many others don’t.
He’s the only superstar capable of the kind of outburst the world witnessed at last year’s MTV Music Video Awards — when he leapt onto the stage and announced that Beyoncé Knowles should have won Best Female Video mid-way through Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech — an outburst that also bestowed on him the title of being the only superstar who can claim he’s been called a jack-ass by the president.
Now, after the most damaging period of his career, West has attempted to resurrect his public image using Twitter.
The reaction to his arrival was instant. Hundreds of thousands followed him in a matter of weeks, eager to see what the troubled hip-hop prodigy had to say after nearly a year of media silence. West quickly endeared himself to the 140-character crowd, releasing a free track each Friday (like the brilliant “Devil in a New Dress”), and picking up squeaky-clean and influential buddies like Justin Bieber along the way.
It’s a marvellous soap opera — marvellous because it’s so vulnerable, and seemingly without PR contingency. Riddled with danger, it reminds us why unfiltered communication from a public figure is a commodity (hats off to you too, Miss Rice).
But for all of the intimacy, it wasn’t until last Saturday that West finally addressed the elephant in the room — the reason for his near invisibility in 2010. Ironically, he chose Knowles’ birthday to exorcise his long-harboured guilt.
West rattled off a stream of consciousness Tweet-a-thon that was far more vicarious than anything Channel 7 has manufactured for The X Factor. Posting over 70 times within an hour, it was something of a digital catharsis.
“Man I love Twitter,” he began. “I’ve always been at the mercy of the press but no more…the media tried to demonize me.”
He went on to address what, for the rest of us, would have been many lifetimes worth of baggage.
“…taking a 15-second clip the media have successfully painted the image of the ‘ANGRY BLACK MAN’. The King Kong Theory.”
“People tweeted that they wish I was dead…they wanted me to die…I carry that. I smile and take pictures through that.”
It was eyebrow raising, provocative and more candid than any upcoming Rolling Stone feature (or cover) could dream of being. Several colleagues flat out didn’t believe it was him. Others suggested it was a genius, coordinated PR stunt.
It seems to me to be far simpler. Kanye West, the unorthodox, innovative and candid artist has skipped the middle man and started winning hearts back by being unorthodox, innovative and candid.
“I’ve hurt, I’ve bled, I’ve learned. I only want to do good. I am passionate I am human I am real,” he wrote.
“It all begins with this…,” and, with one final click of a button: “I’m sorry Taylor.”
Sharp, honest and to the point.
Free songs don’t hurt, but what West chose to do a few days ago will prove far more valuable in rescaling the mountain. If, astonishingly, a publicist was involved, he or she should come forward and duly receive a Nobel Prize for Public Relations.
But hell, what’s Twitter without the mundane? Kanye’s follow-up message after his grand gesture?
“My favourite unit of measurement is ‘a shit load’”.
What a guy.
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