Kanye West revealed once again last night why he’s such a uniquely powerful multi-media creative force, premiering a video (watch below) for the single “Famous” featuring Rihanna from his Life of Pablo album that pushed forward the parameters of what a music event and video is capable of being when backed by the power of art, celebrity and financial resources as realized by someone with an attuned instinct for the here and now.
Following on the heels of his ticketed Yeezy Season 3 presentation at Madison Square Garden, West didn’t perform and yet was able to sell 8,000 seats at the Forum by creating a very of the moment spectacle that commented on and was at the same time fueled by the spectacle of fame. As West commented to Vanity Fair the day before the video premiered on himself and his wife, Kim Kardashian, “Our life is walking performance art.
Check out our catalog of ten items of interest related to the video:
1. The video opens with a Zane Lowe interview with West from 2013 in which he declared rap artists the new rock stars and at the same time shouts out designer Hedi Slimane, with whom he was feuding with at the time.
2. West premiered the video to a sold out audience at The Forum in Los Angeles on June 24th. There were two showings and tickets were sold for $25 through Ticketmaster. Tidal provided a livestream of the event and also made the video available to view for a week following its premier.
3. Souvenir tees featuring the name of the single backed by the location and timing of the event on plain white tees were sold at the event.
Kim arriving at the premiere of “Famous” music video at The Forum in Inglewood, CA yesterday pic.twitter.com/pLPdlZdl1t
— Kim Kardashian West (@KKWUpdates) June 25, 2016
4. Attendees included Kim Kardashian (who wore Yeezy Season 2 heels), Khloe Kardashian Kourtney Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Kyle Jenner, who came with her on-again-off-again Tyga, Scott Disick, plus rappers French Montana, 2 Chainz, Desiigner and The Game.
5. The set up for the video was inspired by realist artist Vincent Disederio‘s work called “Sleep.” Desiderio’s painting is eight-feet high and 24-feet long and portrays the naked bodies of 12 anonymous people on a bed sleeping, and took five years to complete.
6. The people sleeping soundly in the endless bed from left to right are: George Bush, Anna Wintour, Donald Trump, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian Ray Jay, Amber Rose, Caitlyn Jenner and Bill Cosby. All 12 are famous and are often viewed as controversial. Almost all have connections to West, some more so than others. The inclusion of Trump is a bit of a mystery because there hasn’t been much interaction between the two, though that will end should Trump choose to open his big mouth and comment on the video.
7. It is unknown who is real and who is a stand-in for the video (or perhaps even wax), which took three months to complete. The final three and a half minutes are without music and include only the sound of breathing.
8. In an interview with Vanity Fair the day before the premiere he commented, “Maybe in some alternative universe me and George Bush could have been friends. I could have been his O.J. Simpson black friend on the golf course. It’s not in support or anti any of [the people in the video]. It’s a comment on fame.” Kanye added that his wife co-signed on the video saying, “One of the keys to happiness in our marriage is we’re allowed to be ourselves. Our life is walking performance art.”
9. After the event, Kim fittingly Snapped West asleep in the car on the way home.
10. Chris Brown was the first celeb to comment on his appearance, a lighthearted protest on his “plumber butt” being shown.
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