Kanye West was on Conan O’Brien last night to promote his new CD “808s & Heartbreak.” He was wearing sunglasses and was soft spoken and hard to understand at first. Conan initially talked about his fashion and asked about the photo where he has his hoodie zipped up over his face. Kanye said it was a warrior hoodie from his clothing line, Pastel, for Rocawear. He joked that it’s an option to zip it up all the way in case “you want to rob somebody or something.”
Kanye said he has always liked fashion and even picked out his outfits in kindergarten.
Conan then asked Kanye about his latest paparazzi incident and that’s when he started to speak clearly and became a little animated. He wasn’t upset, but you could tell it bothered him.
On his altercation with paparazzi
“I put my hand up to stop him from taking a picture and I guess in all the commotion, the camera must have grazed his nose or something. It was like this super small scratch, but they ended up coming to my hotel room three hours later and arresting me because he filed a complaint. There was just like [makes gesture with hands like a headline] ‘Oh Kanye West gets arrested again…’
On how the paparazzi endanger people
“The thing about the paparazzi is the law hasn’t caught up to the technology of the Internet. All these people are going out just buying cameras trying to catch these shots of celebrities – not even professional photographers. They’re like exploiting, and it’s called an ‘by any means necessary’ type of behavior. The same type of behavior that killed Princess Diana where people are jumping fences and completely violating you.
On celebrities as “museum animals”
“The problem I have with the paparazzi if they’re right in front of you and you’re like ‘Can you please not take a picture of me?’ [gestures like someone taking a picture] and they’re like ‘Dude, I’m not really taking a picture’ and they just keep on doing it and they’re talking to me like I’m stupid and stuff. If you’re like… [gestures like someone taking a swipe] I’m just going to grab the camera. You don’t expect that to happen with a celebrity because we’re like a museum animal and stuff. It’s like, don’t shoot the animals then maybe, I don’t know.”
Conan pointed out that Kanye has painted himself in a corner by lashing out against the paparazzi and said that “the problem is once you do something like that, the word’s out and these guys know that a shot of you losing your temper is worth ten times more than a shot of you remaining calm, so it’s kind of no win situation a little bit.”
Sort of compares fight with paparazzi to civil rights movement
“Except for the fact that I’m going to do something about it, and I’m going to make a change. I think it’s my responsibility. My mom, she got arrested for being in the sit-ins at age 6. My grandfather drove the first car at the marches leaving out of Oklahoma. My father was an activist, so I think they just messed with the wrong celebrity just now… [audience claps]
“Even if they never take another picture of me I’m going to take the responsibility to say, Ok look, at a red carpet event, there should be photographers. If you go to a basketball game, there should be a sign ‘all these pictures are public domain, to be used at the photographers discretion.’” [All quotes transcribed from Kanye West's appearance on Conan O'Brien, aired 11/25/08]
Kanye wasn’t exactly comparing his fight with the paparazzi to the civil rights movement, he was saying that his family has a long history of fighting for what they believe in.
At the end of the interview Kanye talked about his stage shows and how he makes music. He explained that likes to blend in different elements like autotune and monk choirs and that it’s similar to making art for him and he considers himself a pop artist. Then he worked in a non sequitur that he had go to the bathroom and didn’t get enough time before the interview. He said “I have to use the bathroom really bad right now. This entire interview.”
The guy has a point about the paparazzi harassing people, but he’s not a one person movement and if he wants to make a difference he’s got to join with other people and celebrities to change the law. That would require stepping down from the pedestal he’s put himself on. He could start by taking off the sunglasses for interviews and making sure to take care of his business before he goes on the air.
West is shown on 6/29 and 6/19. Credit: Bauergriffin