If you didn't watch the VMA awards last night and haven't seen the headlines, here is the low-down: Taylor Swift won the award for best female video. She went up, all excited and dressed up and cute, to accept her award. Kanye went up, grabbed the mic, and said, "Beyonce had the best music video of all time." Here is the video, if you haven't seen it.
Later, when Beyonce won her award, she went up and asked Taylor to join her on stage so the girl could finally get her moment.
There are so many gender and race dynamics at play here, but I'm going to respond from an emotional place and not an entirely head place on this one. There is no doubt that racism is rampant in the music industry. I've seen the effects of it on music videos and in the lyrics of the songs my girls come home singing. But there is a way to effect real, lasting, industry-wide change. And picking on teenage girls is NOT going to get you what you're looking for (which is justice and equality, right?--not publicity stunts and personal gain???).
Exchanging one oppression for another -- as in silencing women in exchange for a platform on race -- is not going to move anyone forward. Lasting, systemic change means taking small actions that result in real, deep changes at the decision-making and gate-keeping levels. It means raising consciousness and awareness, and connecting with like-minded souls who share in your commitment to social/economic justice and equality. Bull-in-china-shop methods succeed only in short-term venting (which has its place, but bulldozing over another's success on stage is not one of them).
Though he has issued a public apology, it's that sense of entitlement that I'm referring to whenever I write/speak about privilege. The idea that it is completely okay to flatten someone and believe yourself justified. It's the kind of single-mindedness that comes with being completely self-absorbed and seeing only your reality, and projecting it as THE reality.
What I love, though, (besides Beyonce's display of warmth and solidarity) is that Pink had to be physically restrained from going after Kanye afterward.