Kanye West was noticeably absent from the Grammy Awards on Feb. 12 and now we know why. Grammys head honcho Neil Portnow gave insight into the ‘Famous’ singer’s decision making, including the fact that he was originally supposed to perform. Get all the details, right now!
Kanye West, 39, has had a rough few months. And although his absence from the 2017 Grammy Awards was heartbreaking considering his six nominations, it might have been for good reason. In a new interview, Grammys executive producer Neil Portnow spilled the beans on talks he had with Kim Kardashian‘s husband ahead of the Feb. 12 ceremony. Spoiler alert: it has a lot to do with his 2016 hospitalization.
“Kanye, as you know, had some medical concerns and situations,” explains Neil to Pitchfork. “We had dialog with him about actually performing. At the end of the day, what we had heard was he just wasn’t in a place where he felt comfortable doing that. That’s completely understandable.” You’ll recall Kanye spent 10 days at UCLA Medical Center in Nov. 2016 after abruptly canceling his in-progress “St. Pablo Tour.” We’ve since learned the episode left him with memory loss. Thankfully, it seems his kids, Saint and North West, are helping him recover.
Neil’s interview didn’t stop at revealing the Kanye-sized hole on stage. He also discussed the fact that neither Frank Ocean or Drake showed up and touched on all those technical difficulties. “We hope [Drake and Kanye] will be there, whether next year or the year after. They all have very long careers ahead of them. Frank Ocean’s a different story, because he made a conscious decision to not enter his music in the process. I think that’s a personal choice. Not everybody likes or wants to be part of every organization or awards process. I respect that. What I’ll say about Frank is he did have his earlier album out at an early stage of his career, we were delighted that it was entered, we were delighted that he was a Grammy winner, we were delighted to have him on our stage, which gave him a platform very early in his career. That’s something we’re proud of, and down the line he may feel differently. Artists change their opinion. I don’t begrudge his choice at all and we’ll see what the future brings.”
It is worth mentioning that Frank isn’t the only musician who has taken issue with the Grammy Awards. This time last year Kanye was firing off tweets demanding a meeting with Neil, in an effort to “make the Grammys culturally relevant again.” Culturally relevant or not, the show is doing just fine with audiences. Variety reports the ratings for this year’s broadcast topped 2015 and 2016’s. We’d put money on it those numbers will go even higher when Kanye makes his triumphant (and inevitable) return.
HollywoodLifers, are you glad Kanye took the year off to focus on his health? Do you think Frank and Kanye have reason to pick their fights with the status quo??