Despite not being in attendance, the 64th Annual Grammy Awards wound up being a pretty successful night for Kanye West.
After what's already been a pretty turbulent year for Ye, the rapper was honored twice at Sunday night's ceremony in Las Vegas, scooping awards for tracks from his 10th studio album, Donda.
“Hurricane,” his song with The Weeknd, was crowned Best Melodic Rap Performance, and he and Jay-Z also went on to win Best Rap Song for their collaboration “Jail,” meaning that the two rappers are now tied for the mostwins for a hip-hop artist ever, with a total of 24 Grammys each.
However, the man himself was not there to claim his record-breaking awards in person, having been caught up in a ton of controversy in recent months.
In case you missed it, on March 19, a representative for Ye confirmed that an unannounced performance had been scrapped from the ceremony due to his “concerning online behavior.” The spokesperson corroborated earlier reports that Kanye had received a phone call from the Recording Academy informing him that he would no longer be allowed to perform at the show.
This news hardly came as a surprise to many fans given that Kanye was facing intense criticism following a string of concerning and harassing Instagram posts shared throughout February and March — the majority of which were directed towards his ex-wife Kim Kardashian and her new partner, Pete Davidson.
And while the representative did not specify the exact details of the decision to pull Kanye’s performance, many have speculated that the final straw was his comments directed at The Daily Show anchor Trevor Noah, who also hosted last night’s Grammys ceremony.
As you likely remember, on March 16, Kanye published a disturbing post featuring racial slurs targeted at Noah. The post — which came after weeks of similarly concerning behavior aimed at others — resulted in the rapper being served with a 24-hour suspension for violating Instagram’s policies on hate speech, bullying, and harassment.
It wasn’t initially clear why he chose to target Noah; however, it later became evident that Ye was responding to comments that the host had made during a segment on The Daily Show regarding his public harassment of Kim and Pete.
“I see a woman who wants to live her life without being harassed by an ex-boyfriend or an ex-husband or an ex-anything,” Noah said during the viral clip. “If Kim Kardashian cannot escape this, then what chance do normal women have?”
It was quickly reported that the decision to cancel Kanye's performance was made in part because of concerns about how he and Noah would interact during the ceremony.
And despite being barred from performing, a source later informed Variety that there wasn’t anything to stop Kanye from still attending the awards and walking the red carpet. Representatives for Ye did not confirm whether or not he would still attend the ceremony, although it came as no surprise last night to see that the rapper was ultimately a no-show.
Of course, if you know anything about Kanye, you’ll know that these events add to his long and complicated history with award shows, especially the Grammys. Whether it’s giving iconic speeches or publicly slamming the Recording Academy, it’s been a long road to becoming one of the most decorated artists of all time.
After last night’s ceremony aired, a ton of fans online expressed surprise that Kanye took home multiple awards, particularly in light of the fact that he publicly denounced the Grammys in 2020 after posting a video showing what appears to be him urinating on one of his trophies.
In the event that you forgot — or repressed — the memory, Ye tweeted a video of himself urinating on one of his 21 Grammy statues, which he had placed into the toilet bowl. He captioned the post, “Trust me ... I WONT STOP,” much to the confusion of his fans and music industry peers.
It seemed at the time that the video was an act of protest against the Recording Academy, record labels, and the music industry as a whole after a campaign was launched for artists to own their own masters. On the same day that he shared the clip, Kanye also posted a thread of tweets about his own recording contracts, owning the rights to his music, and even compared the music industry to “modern day slavery.”
It’s also important to note that the video was shared during a period in September 2020 when Kanye — who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 — was thought to be going through a manic episode. For some wider context, the same day that he shared the video of himself urinating, Kanye reportedly tweeted over 100 times in one hour and was subsequently suspended from the platform for 12 hours.
So, in light of his past behavior and the events that led to his performance being pulled from the ceremony, it’s understandable that fans were shocked to see that Kanye’s work was still being celebrated by the Recording Academy.
But along with skipping the ceremony, Kanye has also been pretty quiet on social media recently. Interestingly, the rapper has not returned to Instagram since his 24-hour ban last month.
However, reports suggest that all is well and that he and Kim are focused on coparenting their four children together. The claims came days after the exes were photographed together watching their eldest son, Saint, play soccer last weekend.