John Legend: I Don’t Support Kanye West Dissing Beck
John Legend has waded deeper into the Kanye West–Beck fray, explaining that while he considers West a friend and was amused by the rapper rushing the stage when Beck surprisingly beat Beyonce to win Album of the Year honors at Sunday’s Grammy Awards, he does NOT defend West’s subsequent comments about Beck not deserving the award and being less of an artist than Beyonce. Legend clarified his thoughts in a long Instagram post on Tuesday.
The “Glory” singer had been criticized for supporting West, with many observers believing that Legend’s laughter at West’s on-stage stunt meant he also endorsed West’s off-stage rant about Beck and Beyonce. On Instagram, Legend posted an image of Beck’s Morning Phase album cover and set about calming the masses:
I want to clarify my thoughts on Kanye’s actions at the Grammys on Sunday. First of all, Kanye is my friend. He believed in me years ago when very few did, and I wouldn’t be here without his support. That doesn’t mean we’ll agree on everything, but it does mean that I am grateful to him. And I also believe he is one of the most gifted people I’ve had the privilege of working with.
In my comments to US Weekly, I said that when Kanye walked up on stage, mimicking his interruption of Taylor Swift’s VMA acceptance speech, then turned around as if he was just playing, most of the room including me saw this as funny, as a way of taking the piss out of himself for his infamous behavior several years ago.
When I said that was funny and people should lighten up about it, that’s what I meant. I wasn’t referring to Kanye’s comments after the show which I have now seen and heard. I disagree with those comments. Beck is indeed a true artist’s artist. He’s a multi-instrumentalist, a creative and unique singer-songwriter whose music I have bought and enjoyed over the years. While his win may have been a surprise to many, it’s not because he’s not a great artist deserving of recognition.
All of the other nominated artists, including Beyonce, are incredible in their own right, and arguments could be made for any of them deserving to win. This is not an objective process. It’s completely subjective, in fact. We can all debate who we thought should have won. But even if you didn’t vote for him, plenty of our colleagues in the music business did.
These voters are all creators who love music and have dedicated their lives to it, and the plurality of them chose Beck as the Album of the Year. I respect their decision and congratulate Beck on this outstanding accomplishment.
In the chaos of Sunday night and early Monday morning, a number of celebrities and outlets mistakenly reported that West’s self-referential rushing of the stage and near-interruption of Beck was entirely a joke, having not seen West’s controversial backstage rant while speaking with E! It became more clear that West was legitimately upset about Beck’s win over Beyonce, although even West backtracked a bit and praised Beck’s own artistry. Meanwhile, Shirley Manson and others have not been shy about condemning West. What do you think about Legend’s clarified comments?