Kanye West was in London this week to premiere his 35-minute film Runaway at the BAFTA Cinema and while he cancelled all promo the following day, he was happy to spend two hours taking questions from the audience after the showing, which ended at around 1.30am!
Whilst playback Q&As typically last less than half an hour, when Kanye’s people said that he’d take “one more question”, the superstar quickly interrupted, asking “who wants to go? If you want to stay and talk to me, I’ll stay until the last three people are here asking me questions. If anyone needs to leave we can have an intermission, but otherwise I’m staying”.
The artistic and beautifully shot film, we were told, was inspired by the likes of Thriller and Purple Rain, with Kanye saying he wanted to make a “modern day version” and felt a responsibility now that Michael Jackson had died to “inspire the kids”. He also said it represented his dreams, citing Matisse and Picasso as influences.
It shows the superstar rescuing a part-phoenix/part woman who has fallen from another world and documents their journey as he introduces her to his way of life, showing bizarre imagery of a papier mache version of Michael Jackson’s head being paraded with fireworks going off above, and a dinner table scene where dozens of ballerinas come running out of nowhere to perform to his latest song Runaway, the only track to be played in full in the film. The rest of the motion picture showcased bits of music we can expect on the album, which will come with a DVD of the movie, also premiering in two weeks time on major networks including MTV.
After the showing, Kanye returned to the stage and took in the applause, scanning the room with an almost childlike expression of delight on his face, as if the approval meant a lot to him. The Q&A session then commenced, a rare opportunity to ask Kanye West absolutely anything.
He gladly answered all questions candidly and in considerable detail, although took slight offence when asked about Taylor Swift, saying “I’m not focused on that media b*******”.
The questions asked often sparked an almost stream-of-consciousness like reply, and he admitted, “sometimes I don’t answer your question but it inspires me to tell you something I wanted to tell you before”.
He revealed that he would most like to perform in Egypt in front of of the pyramids to 300 hundred people with helicopters hovering above, although quipped that “they’re not available until April.”
Speaking a lot about fashion, it was clear that style and the arts are major passions of the star, saying that a millionaire should invest in him as “investing in me is like investing in the arts”. Comparing himself to Karl Lagerfield and citing Alexander McQueen as an inspiration, Kanye revealed that following the Taylor Swift incident last year, he took six months out of music to concentrate on fashion instead. He even admitted to Googling himself and wishing he could replace some of his past outfit choices.
It was clear that the Taylor Swift saga had had a major impact on him, admitting that it affected him greatly and that he had to cancel a tour and was unable to sell beats in the aftermath.
Announcing plans to direct other films in the future, Kanye said that putting him in the Hip Hop box gives him an “unfair advantage”; “If a film student had made that then no-one would think anything of it, yet because I’m a rapper people think it’s so impressive!” He did however say that he had no plans to conquer Hollywood, saying that it’s “too political”.
Telling us that he was going to the studio after the event, Kanye’s perfectionism was apparent, especially when his colleague who was in the crowd said of the star’s work ethic; “if it’s not perfect, it’s not fine. He won’t let you go home unless it is”.
The extraordinary evening with Kanye gave us a rare glimpse into the mind of the somewhat eccentric genius, who definitely illustrated his unique take on the world. As he concluded, “I’ve only got about 80-100 years left here, f*** living by anybody else’s rules”.
Words: Anna Nathanson