Video Review: Kanye West “Famous”

A sun rises above a pastel watercolor of mountains. It switches to footage of someone’s eyes. A naked and sleeping Kim Kardashian West has Kanye West’s hand on her. Wrinkled sheets are shown. Then the camera pans slowly from the left to the right, starting with Anna Wintour, Donald Trump, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Taylor Swift, West, Kardashian West, Ray J, Amber Rose, and Caitlyn Jenner. It is a recreation of Vincent Desidero’s “Sleep.”

The camera then pans backwards from the front of the bed, starting from right to left. The camera rests on Rihanna’s left breast and then zooms in on West’s face.

Then, the camera begins with Wintour again, focusing on people’s faces. Wintour’s chest heaves up and down. Upside down, the camera stays on Swift. Jenner uncrosses her hands.  Bill Cosby rests. Then it’s back and forth, from left to right for four more minutes, finally ending on George W. Bush.

After a special thanks, naming every celebrity featured, the camera pans over the sculptures as a whole.

Rating: 0/5

Sometime during the video, the music stops and continues to pan over and over the sleeping celebrities for at least seven minutes. There is an expectation put on the viewer to fill in the silence with their thoughts and then begin a discussion with a friend.

The video overestimates its own worth, believing it should be aired in museums  followed by a lecture afterwards. But after two minutes of seeing the same thing, only from different angles, the point is made.

It is first, a joke. It is not any different from the The Last Supper paintings found at the flea market featuring dogs in funny clothes. Not once do the bodies seem real, despite some of them moving. The cracks in Taylor Swift can be seen near the hip while Trump’s sculpture is a packed mound of flesh with some bumps near the buttocks.

Second, it’s exploitative and disrespectful, given that most celebrities featured in the video are those with whom West has had conflicts, including ex-girlfriend Amber Rose and George W. Bush. The commentary becomes people in the media who affected his career in both positive and negative ways. It becomes a mercenary career retrospective, uncertain if its admires or loathes the people involved. For West, a way to wrench control of the conversation into a position where it puts him at the advantage.

Director:  N/A  Year: 2016

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Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit , Greatest City Collective & 45 Magazine and forthcoming in Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kristofia anthology.

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