Kanye West, Not Beyonce, Was the Biggest Loser at the Grammys

Kayne Beck Grammys
Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage

Leave it to Kanye West to commend himself for having enough sense to do an aboutface inches away from the microphone on the Grammy Awards stage where Beck stood about to accept album of the year honors.

“That’s the reason why I didn’t say anything tonight, but you all know what it meant when Ye walked out on that stage!” he declared in a post-show press conference, just in case anyone didn’t understand that he insulted Beck on national television.

What West doesn’t seem to understand is what he did Sunday night was appalling. He owes an apology to Beck and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, which should censure him for his disgraceful stunt.

That doesn’t mean what West did wasn’t funny, even clever in the meta way it referenced his own previous shenanigans, when he went so far as to interrupt Taylor Swift at the 2009 Video Music Awards. But the message he sent then, which was not in jest, was the same he sent now: West wanted the world to know he felt the winner wasn’t worthy.

“Beck needs to respect artistry, and he should’ve given his award to Beyonce,” West declared. Though he later clarified he felt it was the Grammys that need to “respect artistry,” it’s ridiculous that he doesn’t see he’s the one who showed incredible disrespect in front of everyone at Staples Center and in the viewing audience.

In some odd way, because what he did at the VMAs was even worse than his half-invasion of Beck at the Grammys, West may seem almost deserving of a compliment for stopping short of the microphone. But it’s worth considering what the reaction to Sunday’s hijinks would have been had this been his first offense, or if instead of a white male like Beck, he had ambushed a female artist.

Lighten up, West fans, will say. It’s just a joke. It’s just an awards show. That’s just Yeezy being Yeezy.

But imagine being Beck. You just won the biggest honor of your entire career for a work of artistry you take seriously, and a fellow artist decides to take your shining moment as an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that you don’t deserve it?

But Beck isn’t the only person West insulted. In awarding Beck, the Grammy voters had spoken en masse. What right does West have to appropriate the forum they’ve chosen to give the award as a soapbox to declare his dissent?

To his credit, Beck played it off goodnaturedly in the moment by inviting West jokingly to stay onstage. And though in his own post-show comments he’s made clear he bears no grudge against West, you have to wonder how he really feels in hindsight given the brazen insult West not only publicly paid him but then made sure to clarify in comments after the show.

Had West reserved his feelings about Beck winning to the post-show press conference or Twitter, there would be nothing wrong with that. There’s a healthy debate artists enjoy every year after the Grammys about the worthiness or lack thereof of this winner or that, and that’s fine.

But the place and time for that is not on camera while the artist is winning. While CBS could hardly be blamed for airing the moment, it would have been great had the network made the decision to not show such Grammy grandstanding, like NBC’s smart move not to air Doug Baldwin’s toilet-themed touchdown dance at the Super Bowl the previous week.

Maybe West’s behavior would be acceptable if there was some kind of ideological justification to opposing Beck’s work, but there wasn’t any. Beck isn’t George W. Bush, whom West bravely implied was racist on TV in 2005 during a Hurricane Katrina telethon.

Would West think it funny had Beck walked onstage while he was performing earlier in the show and held his nose or gave a thumbs down? Lord knows that the next time West wins an award he’s just begging for a little karma. Maybe his fellow artists should run onstage before he gets there and link arms to blockade his path to the microphone.

But where’s the outrage? At the very least, it would be good to see some of West’s fellow artists speak out against him if NARAS doesn’t plan to go there. Because what happened to Beck today could just as easily happen to them tomorrow.

Maybe next time it won’t even be West that delivers the insult. Perhaps he’ll embolden another artist to up the ante next time and try an even more offensive stunt. There’s a slippery slope here that’s getting greased by the silence of the artistic community. This is not just about the West incident itself but the precedent it could set.

Most galling of all, West depicted his actions Sunday as some kind of admirable self-restraint he demonstrated on behalf of his child. “I’m not gonna do nothing to put my daughter at risk, but I am here to fight for creativity,” he noted at the post-show show press conference.

Don’t delude yourself, Kanye. If you’re so worried about your daughter, think about the example you just set for her.

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    1. MG says:

      He has about as much talent as his wife..0!

    2. Tj says:

      And for good reason. This guy has zero talent. Where did this fool come from? Can he play any instruments? Can he sing? I look at this cat and wonder why any of us even know his name. I’m just being serious here. He needs to be hanging out in the barber shop. Please dude, go away.

    3. bob says:

      WEST IS AN DICK !!!

      He is an insignificant pimple on an elephants ass. Go away!!!

    4. They need to get off their high horse and get in touch with reality. They really do think the world only exist because they do. They do not believe that life goes on. They think that each and everyone of us don’t get it and don’t understand what feelings. They walk around thinking look at me I’m the most important person in the world.

    5. Dustin says:

      Beck is 10 times more creative than West. Now this ass hat thinks because he’s obnoxious and rich, that he’s suitable to run the country…he may get the black vote, but that’ll be all he will get. Get used to the title of loser, Kanye…Its what u deserve.

    6. Storm says:

      Really? People actually care about this petty stuff?

    7. Rappit says:

      KW is an arrogant delusional narcisist. I hope his fellow artists and industry remember this the next time one of his “songs” is considered for a nomination. The best insult to KW is to help him realize he’s a nothing.

      • Kerry Harrison says:

        The fact that you have taken the time to comment proves that he is not “nothing.” Your life means nothing in comparison to the impact he has had on the world, whether you think that is good or bad impact. At least he has the courage to stand up and face the world when he has something to say, you can’t even provide a real name when commenting on a Variety article.

        • hate arrogant rappers says:

          let me guess your black ? worship all rappers, when your broke after spending your money on this garbage ask kayne to help you out

    8. mark says:

      Kanye West is an arrogant jackass. He has zero class and questionable talent. The Grammys have disintegrated into a venue for that little clown to Dismiss the decision of the judges and Disrespect the artist who’s been chosen, on stage, blemishing their big day. He should be banned from being there at all. What an ass clown he’s proven himself to be.

      • Michelle says:

        Agreed! Well said! :)

        • zyggie says:

          My opinion is …all those award shows are politically set. It’s a business and entertains. There are a lot of exceptional artists out there who because they don’t play that game in that business have a hard time. Just as in any other entertainment field. They all have their cracks.

          Now KWest is totally insane he is a partially functioning insane person. I think he lost it long ago when his mom died and he is just that… lost and crazy.

          Kim is so desperate for the spotlight that she is willing to settle for crazy. Kwest dresses Kim and parades her around like his doll. If Kim EVER wants to leave West….she’ll she exactly how crazy he can be.

          As far as West’s talent he does have some but his crazies outshines his talent. I also think Kim is his beard and she’s cuckoo as well. Kim appears to be using North as an accessory to her. No child or baby should be at some of the functions that child has attended. Unless things change….that child will have serious issues.

          All anyone has to do is look at them when they are together or apart, something is NOT right with that union. But, it’s their life and they are living it as stupid as we may think it is.

    9. Lisa Stalcup says:

      well the whole thing is getting so ghetto that a man can get on stage with paul mccartney who should never be on stage at all let alone with the great sir paul, then to spend the time grabbing his self the whole time to me that was so disrespectful i dont even know why he gets to go to these things and why on earth would he get on stage make him stay with his porn star wife and keep bouncer near him so he can not get to the stage ,, i told the hubby and kids as long as they let his trasy self in i am not watching any more i even had to look at his stupid face on the stevie wonder special ..so nope no more for me he has ruined too many shows for me already

    10. Scooby says:

      I think Kanye is obsessed with Beyonce. He prob wishes deep down him and Jay could wife swap

    11. Something is seriously wrong with this guy……I mean seriously wrong
      two french-fries short of a happy meal!! WTH?

    12. Curt Notre says:

      biggest loser? how many grammys does he have?

      • hex says:

        Zero since 2013.. and since this is 2015 the answer is, again, zero. In fact, he hasn’t won an award of any kind since 2013. Oh, you mean overall? You see, I was kind of confused because the article was talking about -this- year’s Grammy awards.. and since none of the others who didn’t win didn’t make an ass of themselves, during or after the event.. yeah, I’d say he was the biggest loser.

    13. Given what he did in 2008 why is he even given a place on, near or by the stage?

    14. Brian says:

      “but I am here to fight for creativity” – says a guy who talks to the beat of music. He doesn’t play it, or sing it. He borrows it from old soul recordings, programs drum machines and samplers, and hires other people to write his string arrangements, etc. He does produce – one style. But so does Beck, who also sings, and plays guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, harmonica, percussion, sitar, banjo, slide guitar, twelve-string guitar, glockenspiel, vocoder, kalimba, melodica, and also beatboxes. His styles include folk, funk, soul, hip hop, alternative rock, country, and psychedelia. Now who’s fighting for creativity?

    15. Robert Deaton says:

      When you have a career that is predicated on being “liked” and is a continuous shaking of a “booty” – it is a case of “lack of moral fiber.”

    16. Heather says:

      Why isn’t Beyoncé saying publicly that she does not agree with what KW is doing! Sitting in the audience laughing is condoning his actions!

      • zyggie says:

        I think B is keeping her mouth shut because she does not want to be in KWest mad world of running his mouth. West says anything and never worries about the outcome. The man is crazy and I think even though Kwest and Jay-Z are friends, B keeps her distance as much as she can. Noticed also that B and Kim are NOT buddies.

        Kwest tries to pull B in but, i think she is smart to keep her mouth closed. That world that celebs live in is so totally different from the REAL world.

    17. MLES says:

      I am all about Beck now. My dollars will go the way of Beck. His music is amazing Kanye who? Beck is a music artistry God!

    18. mck says:

      what is his obsession with beyonce JZ should be pissed with his obsession with his wife its not funny at all!!!

    19. Robert Deaton says:

      There is one, and I signed it… Not sure how to tell you where to find it, but it exists!

    20. KittyP says:

      I think someone needs to start a petition that Kayne be banned from awards shows, maybe just for a year or two, to prove the point that this behavior will not be tolerated. I know stunts like these make for good ratings, but if the audience threatens to boycott that can affect ratings too. If the industry truly respects artists and takes itself seriously, it will consider an invitation a privilege and not a right. If someone disrespects the winners or the event they should be banned.

      • Stephanies9 says:

        I totally agree. Kanye West will continue this misguided entitled behavior and he will eventually be banned or blackballed – Can we say Mel Gibson. The celebrities feel they are entitled cause they are wealthy and you should always show respect and common decency. When you don’t have class how can you show what you don’t have money doesn’t buy class.

    21. Lamia says:

      Good article but you are being over-generous in describing the stunt as ‘funny’. It was a bully-boy stunt from someone who always has to be centre of attention. Those who laughed at it were spineless, and it is shameful that only a handful of other musicians have condemned it – full credit to them, zero credit to those who have kept their heads down.

      No one would like to have that happen to them – least of all West himself. It’s inexcusable. He deserves some come-uppance for this.

    22. francesca says:

      if Byonce had any integrity she would publicly condemn west fore his actions in her name especial as this is the second time he has puled this kind of stunt in her name

      • KittyP says:

        Thanks Francesca. Finally! I was just going to say the same thing. Beyonce needs to step up and condemn his actions. Her silence and the images of her laughing as he pulls these stunts in her name makes her an accomplice. If she thinks its so funny she is just as big an arse.

    23. Cristina says:

      West and Beyonce just aren’t as skilled as they think. Having fits in public isn’t going to make them more popular. They’ve just got to stop letting him places he could cause a problem.

      • Josh H says:

        When has beyonce ever had a “fit” in public? and did you actually watch the grammy’s because if you were watching you would have seen that kanye was on stage as a joke making fun of himself for what he did to Taylor swift. He didnt do or say anything insulting he just went on stage, pretended that he was going to, then left.

        • Lamia says:

          “kanye was on stage as a joke making fun of himself for what he did to Taylor swift.”

          He had no business being on stage at all. It was another person’s moment, and West gatecrashed that. The fact that it was supposedly self-mockery doesn’t take away from the fact that he assumed that Kanye West’s trials and tribulations are as important as the award of Best Album. They aren’t. He’s an arrogant fool.

        • KittyP says:

          Josh H – you serious? A “joke?” Beck has been a respected artist and musician for longer than Kanye (K dropped first album in 2004, Beck has been making music since the early 90’s), this was BECK’S moment. This moment was stolen forever. Don’t you get that? K chooses someone elses moment to make “fun of himself” – to take the attention away from the star of the moment and put it on himself. Any way you slice it, Kanye is a narcissistic jerk and so is Beyonce for not condemning his actions. Her silence and the images of her laughing as he pulls these stunts in her name makes her an accomplice. If she thinks its so funny she is just as big an arse.

        • Dsanner106 says:

          Josh, he ate up becks time to talk and distracted the audience. He met the press afterward and said it was no joke, he started up and changed his mind. He said beck needed to respect true artistry, as if kanye knew what that was. Beck put albums on five different charts, wrote all his music played the insruments and sang. Kanye can say none of those things so your defense of him is not necessary

    24. Edward says:

      Kanye West is a total asshole. Only his arrogance outshines his ignorance. He should be banned from all future Grammys. Obviously the man does not know how to behave like a mature, normal adult.

    25. j d bikeguy says:

      What a piece a shit, he is. Is it the Grammy’s or the racist Kanye West Show, I will never watch that stupid ass show again

    26. Marlene Chamberlain says:

      I think they need better security. Obviously, anytime Kanye’s name ISN”T called and he’s heading towards the stage, WHY DON”T THEY JUST STOP HIM? And he seems to just be embarrassing Beyonce. After the Taylor Swift episode, she gave up her winning moment so Swift could have the one Kanye took away from her.

    27. Marlene Chamberlain says:

      Taylor Swift, Beck, the beat goes on. Karma’s a **tch. Hopefully Kanye’s got his coming.

    28. Yeah respect at the “Staples Center.” Right.

      • Aaron says:

        I just pray… PRAY! that when/if Kanye ever wins Album of the Year, the whole damn audience comes up on stage and, one by one, explains why he doesn’t deserve that award, even if the quality of the material is as if it came from the hand of God.

    29. Rosalie Neal says:

      I just emailed E News that I thought this was so disturbing on so many levels that Kanye West disrespected another Artist that won a Grammy. What is even worse is that none of the E News interviewers at the post Grammy show questioned Him ?? They were all were laughing and seemed to just go along with His agenda?? Not One questioned him why he disrespected Beck and why He Chose to do that there…once again, Kanye steals the lime light for his own propaganda rants…without merit…why should any artist be asked to give up Their award? Where is the Outrage? I do not care if an Artist is Black, White, Purple…this was Wrong! Some one needs to fine Him and the E News Team…as well…this Disrespectful behavior should never be tolerated!

    30. David C says:

      It is my opinion that Kanye’s most important piece of work is the South Park “Fish Sticks” episode. The final musical number clearly raised the bar for everyone at his talent level.

      • Olivia says:

        I agree with you. He needs to be accountable & so does E!! That E guy didn’t say a word while that moron was rambling. What a coward..John Legends music is so beautiful but I will never hear it the same way again. He was so disrespectful towards Beck. His wife is now so ugly to me She was obnoxious!. Kim k is in so much trouble. She may be an illiterate fruitcake, but I honestly think she is actually a kind person. I don’t think she could stay married to this mental case.. Funny how he chose a little girl & then a kind humble type man to do this to. Something tells me he wouldn’t walk up on the stage if Trace Atkins, 50 cent. Eminem, on & on & on… He would have had his ass kicked either PHYSICALLY or INTELLECTUALLY!!!! Good for you. I will do the same…

    31. georgia overdorf says:

      i like the fight for creativity videos,especially the backup of “PLASTIC Bobble Heads”. i think Kanye West isn’t creative enough to know when he crosses the line; the Bobble Heads think it is cool to nod yes, yes. What is in those “heads”–Nothing?

    32. chelle52370 says:

      He’s going to keep pulling these kind of stunts until someone finally stands up and bans him from awards ceremonies, as he should’ve been the first time he acted out. Let him rant on social media all he likes – he doesn’t deserve to be at awards shows. If he wants to act like a spoiled child, he should be punished like one.

    33. Todd says:

      I’m pretty sure Beck is able to be so good-natured because Kanye West’s opinion is irrelevant.

    34. Mark says:

      Can’t blame Kaney Wets.. he keeps backing the wrong horse. Beyoncé isn’t that good and better artists have beat her on both occasions. West needs to get whatever attention he can as his music is bland at best. We all have opinions.. he’s just an A-Hole that doesn’t know his place.

    35. stefanie says:

      Money doesn’t buy class .. and it certainly doesn’t make disgusting behavior of a two yr. old acceptable .. I was not ..NOT watching the Kanye show . Apparently this mere mortal thinks he is above everyone else .. It’s high time someone and everyone take a stand and speak out .. stop placating this individual just because he is popular at this time .. don’t play into the peer pressure .. have integrity!

    36. Ron says:

      In the dictionary under the words ignorant and stupid is a picture of Kayne West. He is an embarrassment to the music profession. What a great role model for his daughter. His 15 minutes of fame was up about 4 years ago! Isn’t it time you grow up?

    37. Dan Goulding says:

      Racist maybe. ASSHOLE TOTALLY !

    38. Aurelia says:

      I am waiting for the day when this fool runs up on stage and someone knocks him f#%k blank out!

    39. lee says:

      With all that money,buy yourself an education!!!!
      Please !!!

    40. FedUp says:

      “Beck isn’t George W. Bush, whom West bravely implied was racist on TV in 2005 during a Hurricane Katrina telethon.”
      So, implying President Bush is a racist is “brave,” but criticizing our current president on ANYTHING makes you a racist.

    41. Karen says:

      Kanye wasn’t just a loser at the Grammies, he is a loser all the time. He carries a chip on his shoulder and a scowl on his face. He is a bully. He is miserable. He is offensive. He may be intelligent, despite the fact that he comes across as stupid, but he is clueless on how to get along with people. He insults artists that are gracious enough not to call him names back. He is just a loser period. There are talented actors that I do not watch their movies, because I don’t like the way they behave (Tom Cruise for one). Kanye may have fans that love his music, but I wonder how many fans he has lost because he is so freaking unlikable? Miserable people want to make every one around them miserable too. Kanye must be horribly miserable, because he makes others extremely miserable when he is around.

      Life is too short to be so angry and offensive. Kanye should pick up and read Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.

    42. Steven says:

      True that…I stopped respecting the Grammies after they awarded Kanye 21 times.

    43. momobserver says:

      The author of this article displays quite a bit of aplomb. Lord knows there are many, many comments on many articles regarding West’s lapse of class and intelligence who flat out got down and dirty on the guy, which he deserves, by the way. West is a square peg in a round hole, always was and always will be. Indeed, karma will be his one day and it won’t be pretty.

    44. lucy says:

      kanye west is undeserving racist. he doesn’t think white people deserve to win anything and doesn’t appreciate their music and is only happy when music from his friends are honored. Its so obvious. It makes me sick that we have this new Black racism problem and it hurts people and is not ok. No race is better than any other. And racism towards whites IS possible and happens all the time and hurts people. All racism is bad. we are all equal and deserving of being recognized for our accomplishments. Beyonce is great and we all love her and she doesn’t need his help at all–and Im sure she is mortified at his rude, obnoxious and racist display on her behalf.

      • I don’t think Kanye is racist. He’s worked with many white artists. Bon Iver was underground, and received a lot of attention for his work with Kanye. He went on to win Grammy’s after dropping his own album. And Bon Iver is not as mousy as Beck, but is adored by the hipster who is often very white. So if Kanye can work with artists loved by hipsters, I think he can accept Beck. Kanye is also a hipster artist in a way. Also he’s married to Kim K and sees her as a white woman, so he’s not racist just because he said “George Bush hates Black people.”

        I think he often acts as if he or Beyonce are marginalized and it’s probably bc he doesn’t always get nominated even if he does produce great work (MBDTF). The way the Grammy’s awards and nominates Hip Hop artists is really tricky. He was also complaining how the big artists are used to draw people to the Grammy’s and that upsets him as well. I think he’s too entitled for his own good and doesn’t realize how lucky he has it. You can’t win all the time and it’s not exactly like Beyonce needs the Grammy’s to prove that she has produced good work. He’s only making more trouble for himself.

        • hex says:

          No, he’s racist for his anti-semitic remarks, which made no sense at all (Bush isn’t Jewish) and his victim mentality. I guess you missed those, though. Can a married man with children not be gay? Indeed they can be. So why, then, do we assume that people who are racist can’t have friends who are of the race they show hatred toward? If a gay person can be married to the opposing gender, then a racist can also show hatred toward the race of their spouse. It’s called “idiosyncratic credit” in this case – go learn about it. How can you judge if someone has racist tendencies? Reverse the race. If Kanye West was white and said the things he did about any other race, would he be labeled “racist” ? Indeed, he would be. He would likely have a nice thick file at the US Attorney General’s office, too.

    45. Tammy says:

      He has got to be the most disrespectful and idiotic wanna be. Seriously hes just jealous cause he is washed up. Nobody cares Kenya

    46. Holly says:

      Artists really need to take a stand against his obvious disrespect. No one deserves to be treated that way. It was disgusting when he did it to Taylor, and it’s disgusting now. Beck won because he deserved to win. He handled himself with class, and Kanye should take a lesson from him. Kanye really needs to just stop, and realize not everything is about him, his friends, and what HE wants. He’s like a child throwing a tantrum when he doesn’t get the toy he wants. Grow up.

    47. Dave Cubbedge says:

      Why does K even care? I’m sure Beyoncé has a gazillion reasons of her own to NOT care!!! Frigging loser!

    48. Cecil B Da Mill says:

      Out of this mess Taylor Swift rises to new hights as a Lady with true class and distinction.

    49. Mary Miller says:

      Well, there’s class and there’s no class…I think we all have seen how classy Beck has been. Kanye could certainly learn something from him.

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