The Meaning Of Kanye West’s Fade Video

by Lia Beck

When it was announced that Kanye West was being given four minutes to speak at the 2016 VMAs, my first reaction was that there was no way West could keep within the time limit. But it turned out that he actually did keep things pretty short, with a speech that covered topics from his Famous video to gun violence. And after his speech, there was another huge Yeezy moment: Kanye West premiered the video for "Fade." The vid features musician and dancer Teyana Taylor dancing Flashdance-style in a gym, but then it takes a turn at the last moment to show Taylor hooking up with her real-life partner, Cavaliers player Iman Shumpert, and ends with the two and a baby (presumably their actual baby) surrounded by sheep. So, what does it all mean?

The video itself is very sexual. Taylor is shown dancing in a thong and bra top, and many of her moves are sexually suggestive. (I mean, did you see her thrusting on the floor towards the end?) Following her dancing, she is shown in a shower with Shumpert, with the pair both naked and embracing each other. It is not until the very last shot that they are shown with a baby and surrounded by sheep, with Taylor wearing lion-like makeup on her face.

It seems like the video could be a commentary on a woman's body being able to be both sexual and something that brings life into the world. It happens all too often that women are told they can't be sexy once they have children; that it's inappropriate. West's wife, Kim Kardashian, is the subject of comments like this frequently, so it's likely something that hits close to home for West.

And the part at the end with the baby must hit close to home for Shumpert and Taylor. They welcomed their baby in December in their own bathroom, with Shumpert delivering her — meaning it was just the three of them during that moment, much like it is in the final scene of the video.

The sheep, I can only guess are meant as religious imagery, and religion is a theme Yeezus brings up often in his work. The "lamb of God" represents Jesus Christ, so the entire end scene of "Fade" seems to be about birth and rebirth in a couple different ways. As for that lion makeup, that's a little bit unclear. Lions are known as being the "king" of the animal kingdom, so perhaps this is another way of showing how powerful women are. Maybe West will fill us all in someday.