Friday, March 18, 2011

Runner-up: "Imma let you finish, but this video may induce the best seizure of all time!"

Although George Bush may not care about black people, Kanye West has made it clear that he cares about...epileptic people. Soon after the release of Kanye West's new music video for "All of the Lights," British group "Epilepsy Action" publicly criticized the video after receiving various complaints from viewers who had suffered seizures as a result of watching it. The video, directed by Hype Williams, begins with misleadingly calm black and white footage of a young girl before unexpectedly transforming into a crazy spectacle of flashing lights and color.

In light (hah?) of this controversy the video was momentarily taken down from YouTube and then re-released with a (badass) disclaimer warning viewers of its potential to trigger seizures. Although Kanye's people did address the complaints in a relatively timely manner, they did of course allow time for this issue to become a hot topic on the internet, increasing interest for the video, curiosity for what would be done, and spurring ridicule through tweets like, "Imma let you finish, but this video may induce the best seizure of all time!" It seems that, especially for Kanye, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

Personally, if I had epilepsy or some other form of photosensitivity, I wouldn't actively seek out to watch a video named "All of the Lights" (unless I was trying to get myself into a seizure that caused me some serious psychological damage...for which I would be unable to survive without monetary compensation from Kanye West). Fortunately (or unfortunately), I do not suffer from photosensitivity and was able to dismiss the warning and continue watching.

"All of the Lights" provides a promising beginning that suggests that it will be the type of video to extend the meaning of an already amazing song. However, the story line of the small girl (later revealed to be the daughter) who "needs her daddy," despite his violent actions against her mother, is lost. No, this story does not suffer at the hands of the flashing lights. In fact, the images and colors serve to highlight the lyrics (a la "Enter the Void") and create tension as Kanye hold his head in his hands, struggling to face all the difficulties of his life.

So who is to blame for the lost message? Rihanna's boobs. I'm not kidding. Currently the top YouTube comment for the video is: "Warning: Rihanna's titties have been identified to potentially trigger seizures. Viewer discretion is advised." Although Rihanna delivers the perfect vocals for the song, her appearance in the video, dressed in what I would describe as two Band-Aids, shifts the direction of the story
from a promising artistic undertaking to the unapologetic "sex-sells." Following Rihanna, the camera switches to a profiled shot of Kid Cudi, who only turns to look at the camera in order to smile playfully and grab at his red leather jacket.
Both artists give"want you to see everything" new meaning.

By the time the video returns to Kanye and his "daughter" the viewer has completely forgotten about the story-line and instead may possibly be frantically searching Google more pictures of whichever star is to their liking...

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