Normally, I don’t pay attention to Kanye’s rants but something about his post-Grammy rant stuck with me to the point that I was thinking about it when I woke up. Granted, Beck shouldn’t have to give his Grammy to Beyonce, but what Kanye said made absolute sense.
It made sense because his words don’t just apply to music or the Grammys. He’s talking about artistry and creativity.
“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.” – Kanye West, 2.08.15
The publishing industry is very similar to the music industry. Very few true artists get the accolades that are well deserved, yet the charts are flooded with mediocre (at best) writing.
We can look at the success of Fifty Shades of Gray as an example. We can look at the top 100 Bestselling Urban Fiction books on Amazon as an example. We can look at the top 100 Bestselling Romance novels as another example. We can use the NYT and USA Today Bestseller lists as examples.
In 2014, I read some of the best books, books that challenged my ideals and inspired me to become a better author. Books that changed the way I viewed my past and helped me move forward. I didn’t find these books on any bestseller list. I only discovered them because I went searching for them or the author shared a link on Social Media and I decided to check them out.
When an artist (author, poet, musician, singer, songwriter, etc) creates a work of art that truly inspires, that is truly a genuine work of art, and it is not noticed or accepted by the community to whom it was presented, why would that artist feel anything but disrespect? Why would that artist be inspired to continue to work hard and deliver masterpieces that go unnoticed and unappreciated?
It’s the knowledge that I could pour my heart and soul into my writing and deliver a life-changing novel and still not be recognized for my efforts that makes writing such a challenge. When hard work, passion, and creativity are surpassed by gimmicks and popularity, we have a problem. And guess what…
Houston, we have a problem.
Therefore, I applaud Kanye for his words, not necessarily his actions. In his own special Kanye flavor, he IS fighting for creativity. More people should fight for creativity. If we, as artists, don’t fight to be heard, to be noticed, and for change, who else will?