Kanye West Comments On Censored Billboard Music Awards Performance & He's Not Happy
Viewers of last Sunday night's Billboard Music Awards may have been left confused about why Kanye West's performances of his tracks "All Day" and "Black Skinhead" were so heavily censored during the show's live broadcast. Of course, some censoring makes sense of a network standpoint: The song uses profane language frequently, and it's all the sort of stuff that could never air on network television. Unless the channel is HBO (which, as we all know, is not TV), it makes sense that explicit language would be censored. However, during the broadcast, the censoring seemed... well, excessive. Though, as Bustle's very own Lia Beck pointed out, "All Day" includes the n-word a total of 39 times, West's performance of "Black Skinhead" seemed to be censored just as much, despite not continuing as much profanity. In a way, it almost seemed like there were technical difficulties — and West isn't happy about it. According to EW, Kanye West released a statement calling the censoring of his Billboard Music Awards performance "ridiculous."
According to EW, the statement reads:
Kanye West was grossly over-censored at the Billboard Music Awards. Non-profane lyrics such as ‘with my leather black jeans on’ were muted for over 30 second intervals. As a result, his voice and performance were seriously misrepresented. It is ridiculous that in 2015, unwarranted censorship is something that artists still have to fight against. Although West was clearly set up to face elements beyond his control during the live broadcast, he would like to apologize to the television audience who were unable to enjoy the performance the way he envisioned.
Previously, ABC released a comment on their decision to censor the performance as heavily as they did, which reads, "Kanye West is an incredible performer and one of today's most influential artists, however he did not make his performance available for review prior to air resulting in an edited appearance in tonight's live broadcast."
It's not clear what prompted much of the censorship, but honestly, West has a point — "with my leather black jeans on," for instance, is hardly an offensive line from the FCC's standpoint, so it doesn't make sense that it would be censored on purpose. Though there's been no word on whether or not technical difficulties were to blame, as many viewers of Sunday night's telecast theorized, something tells me this story is far from over.