When Kanye West complained to Matt Lauer about a clip airing during his “Today” show interview, it all sounded eerily familiar. West actually issued a similar complaint, albeit more politely, to MTV News just a few weeks ago.
On October 23, after MTV premiered West’s new 35-minute movie, “Runaway,” he sat down with Sway to discuss the movie and his process for directing it. A small portion of the interview aired live on MTV before continuing to be streamed on MTV.com.
During the Internet portion of the interview, Sway posed a question to West about the scene in the film when West and the phoenix (played by Selita Ebanks) attend a parade featuring several people wearing hoods and a giant bust of Michael Jackson.
As West attempted to respond, MTV News simultaneously played a clip from that scene of the film with audio. West became clearly distracted.
“It’s me taking her to my world and saying, ‘Let me show you what my world is about.’ And pop. One of the greatest —” Kanye began answering before he stopped, turned to the crew and asked, “Can you turn that down? Is that possible?”
After taking a brief moment to regain his train of thought, Kanye finished his response, and the interview continued as planned.
In Thursday’s “Today” interview, West admitted that he tagged Bush a racist in a moment of frustration he now regrets.
“I’d tell George Bush, in my moment of frustration, I didn’t have the grounds to call him a racist,” he said. “But I believe that in a situation of high emotion like that, we as human beings don’t always choose the right words.”
Later, Lauer endeavored to draw a parallel between Kanye’s characterization of Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina relief, and “some people’s” reading of West’s interruption of Taylor Swift’s 2009 VMA acceptance speech.
“Some people said, ‘This isn’t a guy expressing his musical preference, this was a guy who was making a statement about race,’ ” Lauer said. “And you got accused of racism.”
As West responded, the “Today” show’s producers rolled a clip of West’s interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 VMAs, a clip that obviously has emotional significance for the MC.
“It was so funny to me that it could be a race thing, because what I was expressing was my frustration of years and years of seeing — yo, how am I supposed to talk with this running in the middle while I’m talking?” West said. After Lauer asked producers to turn off the audio from the clip, West snapped, “Please don’t let that happen again.”
“It’s something we do every day,” Lauer explained on Thursday’s broadcast of the interview. “When a guest is talking about an incident or a location, we roll tape of that incident or location.
“We look forward to Kanye’s return to our special live concert on the plaza Friday, November 26,” Lauer concluded.