Why Didn't Kanye West Perform At The VMAs? Because His Art Speaks For Itself
While there was a lot to get excited about when it came to this year's MTV Video Music Awards — Miley Cyrus as host, promised performances from The Weeknd and Nicki Minaj, a new Taylor Swift music video, etc. — one of the biggest draws was, without a doubt, Kanye West's MTV VMAs Video Vanguard Award performance. However, by the time the show rolled around, there was no performance to be seen — instead, a lengthy video showcasing how much West has contributed to the music industry through his mastery of his craft was aired, before West took the stage to accept the award with a powerful speech.
Created to honor a musician's contributions to the music video art, the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award is an honor bestowed upon some of the greatest artists in the music industry — so it makes total sense that West, whose video for "Only One" was directed by filmmaker Spike Jonze, would receive the award at some point. In addition to honoring the recipient, the award also allots a large amount of time to the honoree for a creative performance (about 5-10 minutes, but this varies — Beyoncé's, for instance, was 16 minutes long). Of course, considering this is West we're talking about here, any performance he would have blessed the award show with would have made an amazing statement — but the fact that there was no performance actually makes a stronger statement.
By not performing, West let his art speak for itself. Each of his music videos have a set vision when he creates them — they're all saying something different not only about the music industry, but about life itself. These are powerful statements that stand so strongly on their own, no performance was necessary.
Sure, a performance would have been nice (and no doubt glorious), but the fact that West used his allotted time to give such a powerful speech says so much more.