A representative for musician Kanye West has issued a statement to Variety this weekend, confirming a report that West had been dis-invited from performing at this year’s Grammy’s ceremony. The representative apparently cited a report posted on The Blast yesterday that said West had been banned from performing at the April 3 event, over “concerning online behavior”. Which is presumably a nice way of describing the ongoing harassment West has been directing toward his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, and her new boyfriend, Pete Davidson.
Here’s where this story gets kind of nebulous and weird, though. (And we realize that Paragraph Two seems kind of early for that particular segue, but such is life on the Kanye beat.) At no point have the Grammys announced that West was ever going to be involved this year—despite the fact that his album Donda, and its various tracks, are nominated in four categories, including Best Album. Variety notes that the Grammys—which announced the first wave of performers at this year’s ceremony, including BTS, Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X with Jack Harlow, Brandi Carlile, and Brothers Osborne, on Tuesday—have so far not responded to requests for comment about West’s involvement, or lack thereof.
The upshot of which is that the narrative here is currently being dictated entirely by West’s camp, and by allies like rapper The Game, who posted a lengthy paragraph on Instagram painting West’s non-inclusion as a slight against Black performers and hip-hop, and not, say, a fairly rational decision to not put Kanye West within spitting distance of a TV camera, a microphone, and a national audience.
The whole situation is only made more complicated by the fact that this year’s Grammys are being hosted by The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, who recently devoted airtime on his series to talking about West’s behavior toward his ex—which swiftly brought about a response from West on Instagram, which swiftly brought about a 24-hour ban from the service for the musician.
The question here, then, becomes one of whether West was initially offered a spot on the show, which was then rescinded, or whether Grammys organizers simply declined to include him in the first place. Which, again, would not be an unreasonable position—especially in light of West recently used his headlining position at this year’s Coachella to try to dictate the behavior of fellow headliner Eilish, or basically anything else he’s done with his copious shots at the public spotlight in recent years.
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