Kanye West is a divisive figure in the world of music. West is a 21-time Grammy award winner, and the 37-year-old rapper has sold well over 20 million albums and has over 100 million digital downloads to his credit. Clearly, West is appreciated by both the critics and by a large section of the record buying public. That said, West has many detractors who accuse him of being self-serving, arrogant, and outspoken. West’s behavior in interviews and at award shows has frequently been seen as controversial because he has disrupted awards when he thought someone was more deserving than the winner.
The controversy around West reached fever pitch earlier this year when it was announced that Kanye had been booked to play a headline slot at this year’s Glastonbury festival. When the announcement was made that West would headline the iconic pyramid stage at this year’s festival, the decision was criticized by both music fans and celebrities like Noel Gallagher.
One Glastonbury fan even started a petition calling on the organizers to dump West from the lineup and replace him with a rock band. The petition was signed by over 133,000 people, a figure which is equivalent to the number of tickets sold for the festival. In an unprecedented move, festival organizer Emily Eavis wrote an article in the Guardiandefending the choice of West as a headliner and slamming the critics for their bizarre, hateful, and vitriolic attacks.
Eavis said, “[W]e book our acts by choosing the best and most challenging musicians on the planet, not by applying some kind of arbitrary morality test.”
According to the London Evening Standard, Ms. Eavis, who organizes the event with her father, Michael, has now revealed that she was subjected to death threats after revealing Kanye West as a headliner for this year’s festival.
“It was not a pleasant world we unwrapped. I had death threats and stuff. It was horrible. It was just crazy.
“The scrutiny is daily. Whatever we do is torn apart and analyzed. It’s hard to concentrate on the job because you can get easily distracted by the hoo-ha. It was quite upsetting because we were talking about something that was so exciting for the festival.
“Kanye West is an amazing force as a performer. For us, getting the biggest star in the world was an amazing coup.”
Breaking News report that “Kanye West follows in the footsteps of fellow hip-hop superstar Jay Z, whose Saturday night slot at Glastonbury in 2008 caused huge controversy before it was deemed a big success.”
This year’s Glastonbury festival takes place between June 24 and June 28. Many will watch with interest to see if Kanye West can overcome the haters.