Earlier this month, Kanye West went under fire after allegedly demanding two handicapped fans to stand during a recent show in Australia. Turns out it was all a big misunderstanding and Ye actually made sure to exclude anyone that was disabled from his concert calls. That didn’t stop the media from taking a shortened video clip and runnings wild with it, slandering the Chicago native in every way possible.
This of course prompted Kanye to go on another “rant” expressing his distaste for the media, and showing vulnerability as a husband and father.
Now, Mike Dean, Kanye’s engineer and current road DJ, shares an open letter from a wheelchair-bound rapper in support of Kanye.
Addressing the Kanye West & the Wheelchair incident of 2014:
So I’ve been waiting a bit to put out my two cents about this Kanye West encounter down under. In the video, Kanye is about to go into the last part of his set, and stops the show to demand that everyone who can, to get up, “unless you’re in a wheelchair and have that handicap placard and shit, you’re good.” In his own statement he clearly was giving an exception to having people get up for one of the climaxes of the concert.
The fact that he wanted everyone who could physically get up and dance shouldn’t be construed as a negative thing. Shit, how many shows have gone down where the artist, yells to the audience, and I’ve gotta quote James Brown, “Get up off of that thing, and dance till you feel better.” I’ve never heard of an artist actually mentioning that it’s ok if you’re disabled to not stand up when he was trying to get the entire audience involved in his show and really make it an experience.
I mean, before I was able to walk around predominantly on my crutches, I used to go to shows on a motorized scooter or on my trike. Even with my Muscular Dystrophy, you better believe I’d still be getting down as best I can. That’s why I love music and going to see shows live, because when you get that ticket and join the crowd, you’re taken away from whatever problems you’ve dealing with at the time and you just let go and vibe with the everyone. When you’re in this space, between the performer and audience, there is a symbiotic relationship going on; he is going to be feeding off of your energy and giving it back just as hard as he gets it.
So when Mr. West wants every person in the audience to get into the song, it’s because he wants to give it his all and rap his fucking heart out. As a performer myself, the first thing I want when I’m playing is people to be digging what I’m rapping and getting into my performance. I feel like my shows are so much better when it happens, and after the show people come up to me and thank me for the show. I tell them that they shouldn’t be thanking me, since it’s me that should be thanking them for the support; the people you perform for give you the energy to go as hard as you can on stage. So when Kanye goes into his now almost required in-show rants, it’s because it’s his time to just get his emotions to the crowd and talk about what he is going through.
Another thing that happens when those rants go down, a little more on the low key side, is that the dramatic tension just starts to build exponentially. You just want and you can feel him about to go into the last bit of the performance and wreck shop. So yeah, during this rant, Kanye probably wanted to be sure that the people who weren’t standing up had a valid reason for it and sent out his security detail to check it out.
Now as someone who can’t stand up without assistance; I think that if you’re able to stand up at this type of show and you choose not to get up and celebrate, it can take away the experience from the people around you and from the show itself. That’s something any performer, let alone Kanye, can’t stand to see. Man, if I could get up and dance at a show I will, and when I spy someone who is able to dance and celebrate that isn’t, that just gets me pissed. At that show he was literally doing a song called “The Good Life” which is about celebrating an achievement of reaching a plateau you never really knew you’d make it to, so yeah of course he wants everyone who can get up to do so.
I read an op-eds this week that accused him of discriminating against the disabled, which is a ridiculously bold statement. This past year after a show during the X-Games, he stopped his song, “Bound 2”, twice; once to sign a cap for a man in a mechanical wheelchair, then again when he gives him the mic at the end of the song (at 1:20 and at 3:30 respectively). How the hell can someone who did that on their 37th against the handicapped?
Everyone this week has been asking if I’m upset at what Kanye said, and to be honest, I’m not. He was trying to put on a great show and added that exception about being handicapped. If he didn’t mention that, the media would have flipped out even more, I’m assuming. I’m frankly more upset that people are making such a big deal about it, and the fact that people are rushing to our defense, when in my opinion he didn’t wrong us. We aren’t some sort of weak or fragile commodity that needs to have someone rush to our defense. We are tougher than what people make us out to be, so you (haters) can’t tell me nothin’. Right?