Sunday night during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye surprised fans with the release of his new music video for “Fade.” The clip features a sweaty Teyana Taylor dancing in an empty gym, a la “Flashdance,” before turning into a cat, surrounded by sheep, leaning on her fiancé, Cleveland Cavs player Iman Shumpert.
The artistic and metaphorical plot twist surprised many who found the end scene confusing, but the video’s choreographer, Jae Blaze, told Pitchfork that it symbolized fierceness.
“I think the vision behind that was how amazing Teyana is, and how she’s been on the rise, and how she’s working,” Blaze told the site. “And you are now seeing her blossom into this fierce lioness, this fierce cat. She has worked her way into that, and she’s in a great position right now in her life. She has her family. She’s being held down by her amazing husband. She has a beautiful daughter. You know, the lioness always protects her baby. I think it really is about her coming into her fierceness. And that’s where she is in her life right now. She is blossoming.”
Calling Taylor “superwoman,” Blaze explained that the singer came in with a set of moves that she and other choreographers (Fonzworth Bentley and Guapo) had created prior to the shoot. Then Blaze stepped in and helped smoothed out the edges.
“I was called in the day of, saying, ‘Hey Jae, we want to use some elements of your dancehall choreography to put into Teyana’s performance,’” she explained. “Between Fonzworth, Guapo, and I, we basically just came together as creative minds and just smoothed out the edges, watched what looked great on camera, and gave Teyana artistic direction.”
When asked where the “Flashdance” inspiration came from, Blaze thought it was comical that everyone kept referencing the 1983 film.
“You know what the funny thing is? Everyone is just referencing ‘Flashdance,’ and that is a great conversation to be in because the movie was epic,” Blaze stated. “I mean, she just took ‘Flashdance’ to 2016, if you want to put it like that. She brought it to a generation of some people who many not have even seen the movie before! She made it relevant and current right now. Her body is amazing. Her dancing was amazing. She’s just a beast. All in all, it just came together really well.”
The video for “Fade” can be seen exclusively on Tidal.