Fans who had hoped to see Kanye West perform “Black Skinhead” and “All Day” at last weekend’s Billboard Music Awards instead got mere blips of those songs peppered wth huge swaths of silence.
The famously antagonistic rapper and performer must have sent the show’s production team (and its broadcast partners ABC) reaching for the panic switch with his lyrics in those songs, as the show’s censors bleeped out close to a quarter of his airtime, according to Rolling Stone.
Now West’s representatives have released a new statement firing back.
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.
Their content – which can sometimes be profane, but not overly so by modern hip-hop standards – shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone at the awards show staff or the network, so it’s disappointing they decided to lean on the kill switch even during entirely prosaic lyrics.