Just a week after releasing the dates for his "Saint Pablo" tour and dropping a single added to his most recent album "The Life of Pablo", also titled "Saint Pablo" KanYe Has released the first video for the album. It is for the song "Famous", one of my favorites, which features Rihanna singing a Nina Simone sample.
The video starts off with colorful sunset like imagery, then cuts to what seems to be a home video of KanYe lying in bed with his wife, Kim Kardashian. then there are a few pans overrates bed where we see some familiar and naked bodies. Based on facial features, hair and tattoos they become easily recognizable as a few celebrities who's celebrity has taken over their respective lives. They are, in no particular order, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Taylor Swift, Ray J, Donald Trump, Anna Wintour, Amber Rose, George Bush, Caitlyn Jenner, and Bill Cosby. Most of the bodies are extremely real looking, however as a huge fan I could tell that Rihanna was certainly not in that bed portraying herself, who or whatever was in that bed did not favor the star very much as far as facial feature go. Throughout the video though there are contacts pans, cuts to, and close ups of these bodies, some are breathing and moving and the mind blowing part of this music video is the experience f trying to figure if these "celebrities" really agreed to take time out of their schedules to lie naked among each other for KanYe's video. Toward the end, there is a pull out and we slowly see everyone on this large bed come into frame, crotches covered. It is this shot where I can also tell that the Chris Brown depicted in not actually Chris Brown. Before this, though, what answers the big question for me is the special thanks. There are shorts credits where "special thanks" is given to all of the people I mentioned earlier, it then ends with "...For being famous". So technically they are not being thanked for being featured int he video but only for being famous and helping the video's meaning. The thank you could also be for giving KanYe permission to portray their images.
Now for the meaning of the video itself, despite the celebrity "cameos". They are nude, they are on display, they all are figures who have been all over the meaning for positive but also very negative reasons. Kanye and Kim Kardashian have had their fair share of media coverage in tabloids and gossip blogs before even getting married and so much more afterwards and still. Rihanna is a superstar as well is her ex Chris Brown, there relationship and domestic violence incident has been publicized, and they are still have a massive amount of media coverage individually. Ray-J is known for making Kim Kardashian "Famous" after the release of their sex tape. Donald Trump is the most hated man in America, well maybe the most loved which is absolutely terrifying. and so on and so forth. The plain and simple meaning is that celebrities are constantly on display, at our disposal; they stand before us practically nude as we exploit their lives and exploit their bodies. "Fame" has greatly affected the lives of these people, along with KanYe's and with this video he subtly yet controversially shining light on that. When are is this daring yet minuscule is when it becomes the forever disrespected art form, performance art. This is clearly film, a music video, but the display seems more performative. What this sparks in viewers is exactly what KanYe seems to be going for. He states the obvious while dropping jaws.
My problem is with the people he depicted. Evidently they all are all people greatly effected by their own celebrity, but do these depiction represent any personal feelings of Mr. West? Is KanYe sympathizing with these people? Is there any emotional meaning at all? Ultimately, does he support or in other words fuck with the people depicted?