Grief, Living in This World, Mothering

What would your mama think?

Last week I wondered how a Congressman's mother might feel about his incivility, and I thought the same thing over the weekend about a tennis star, but the one I really wondered about most grabbed a microphone from a young woman, in what was not his first unscripted moment on a live television show. On that night four years ago, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, I became aware of Kanye West for the first time. Since then I've listened to his music (used "Jesus Walks" in a sermon), noted his intelligence and his not-so-smartness and learned about his relationship with his mama.

Jay Leno asks the question (at about the 2 minute mark):

In this era of jump cuts and quick edits, we cut away from things that make us uncomfortable, just as the director of the Red Cross fundraising special did. I'm glad Jay Leno let this one ride for all those empty, uncomfortable seconds.
We can't move forward without recognizing what we have done. And in this noisy world that worships activity and busy-ness, it's much easier not to bother.

10 thoughts on “What would your mama think?”

  1. I’m learned from a dear friend, hmmm, would her name be Songbird?, that sometimes you have to pause and think about things before jumping in “mouth first.” In this case, I felt bad about what Kanye West did to Taylor Swift but I had other things on my mind and didn’t dwell too long on his stupidity. Then I managed to see his visit with Jay Leno last night and finally had that “pause” moment. In his show of grief when Jay mentioned his mother, I saw a side of the story that made it slightly easier to forgive. Could the mother piece be the cause of his need to be center stage all the time?

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  2. I was struck by how forthright Leno was with his question:”How do you think your Mom would feel about all of this?”
    Kanye was speechless and teary. I think he really needed to hear that question, asked of him in kindness but in seriousness. He screwed up in public, I think he had a lot of guts to keep his commitment to Leno’s first show, and I like the way he allowed his “Aha!” moment to happen in public too.
    It doesn’t excuse what he did, but I think he woke up a bit.

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  3. Sounds to me like Kanye was already scheduled, thus Leno thanking him for keeping the commitment.
    I was disgusted with what he did. I think he is, now, also.

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  4. Yes, the schedule had been set long before this week.
    There’s a lot of this going around. I didn’t know until later that Roger Federer swore during his match last night. What will make us stop?

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  5. Frankly, I have only a vague understanding of who Kanye West is. I saw an angry young man behaving badly in public, which unfortunately is what we have become accustomed to seeing in our celebrities. I loved that Leno asked him “What would your mother say?” because he clearly wasn’t prepared for that particular question. I hope that thinking about this will help him during that time of reflection Kanye says he will be taking soon.
    I do know who Beyonce is and saw that she behaved with her customary grace, which a true star brings to everything she touches. She rose above the ugliness and jealousy and gave us a example of how we are called to love one another.
    What is really bothering me about this event is all the anger that is flying around the internet. People are reacting to Kanye as badly as he reacted to Taylor’s award. Would that we would all emulate Beyonce instead.

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  6. I’ll start by saying I’m not a fan of Kanye West – seriously, the guy uses AutoTune beyond the point of distraction. Just SING, rap, or play an instrument.
    Anyway, E!s showbiz “news” show aired red carpet footage of Kanye immediately before the awards show, swigging several times from a large bottle of booze (he shared with his girlfriend, what a gentleman). They also had still photos of him inside the venue, guzzling from what appeared to be the same bottle. Kanye’s not known for his great or magnanimous behavior, so couple that with his on-going grief over his mother’s death, and what seems to be a large amount of alcohol and you get a very ugly public scene.
    I’m betting his next step in damage control is to enter rehab. That seems Troubled Celebrity 101: When engulfed in scandal or a public backlash of any type, enter rehab. Not only will it give you time away from the hoopla, people will cheer you on for admitting your problem and getting help.
    After all, he was already quoted as saying something about taking time off to address various things.
    What I don’t like is the people who are suddenly boycotting him. First, most of them probably have never purchased or downloaded a single song of his. Second, what good does it do? Instead of boycotting Kanye, download a Taylor Swift song.

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  7. revmaria–i completely agree with you, we should be following Beyonce’s lead rather than Kanye’s.
    i wonder how Obama referring to Kanye as a jackass will change the tide of public opinion. will people cheer for obama or think he’s an insensitive lout? will Kanye get more or less crap?
    personally, i have some sympathy for just about every celebrity–how could it not go to your head? hopefully this can bring him/Kanye back to earth and he can start producing some good work once more.

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