Kanye West released his music video for the song “Black Skinhead” off his album Yeezus. On his twitter account, Kanye declared that this video was a step forward in the art of music videos by incorporating the internet in ways that haven’t been done before.
As Kanye frequently does, he’s made himself into a transgressive revolutionary with this video – someone who’s crossing boundaries that have never been breached before. But much like Kanye’s other publicity stunts, the video for “Black Skinhead” isn’t as unique as he probably thinks it is. On the surface, the video is interesting. It’s interactivity allows users to control the speed of the video and can take screenshots throughout, a feature that was added to create a cluster of images from the video scattered across the Internet. Underneath this “new, innovative” feature (control+shift+4 will result in the same effect for any video or website) is a bland, black-and-white video that shows off Kanye’s body.
While Kanye boasts that this is a step towards internet based videos, this isn’t even the first step or the most successful. In 2012, Arcade Fire teamed up with Google Chrome to create a stunning, multimedia music video for their song “We Used to Wait“. After entering an address on the website, the video uses HTML5 to create a choreographed browsers and windows designed to transport the viewer back to their childhood. Not only is Arcade Fire’s video interactive in a more unique and intriguing way the “Black Skinhead”, but the music video itself seems to have more of an artistic edge to it than Kanye’s.
Like most of Kanye’s stunts, “Black Skinhead” is just one more overly hyped and mildly disappointing attempt at standing out. While this video may have a deeper social commentary running through it, Kanye West is spending too much time relying on the new factor of it to focus on where the true statement and artistry may lie.Google+