Kanye West’s visual for his track “Famous” has been making headlines, as expected. The Vincent Desiderio–inspired video features 12 detailed sculptures of celebrities and public figures naked and asleep on a bed.
The list includes Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, Rihanna, Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour, Chris Brown, Bill Cosby, Caitlyn Jenner, George Bush, Amber Rose and Ray J. Each one of these people mean something specific to either Kanye or the people surrounding him, from ex-lovers to celebrities he’s criticized in the past and/or worked with.
By now, most of Twitter has critiqued the piece, calling it “art,” “insane,” “controversial” and disrespectful to the women being portrayed. Many are waiting for those celebrities to respond to the way their image is being used (Chris Brown thought it was funny, while many others had “no comment”), including Kanye himself — who tweeted (and then deleted), “Can somebody sue me already #I’llwait.”
But in a new interview with Vanity Fair, the rapper states that he’s not necessarily targeting any one of them in particular. “It’s not in support or anti any of [the people in the video],” West said. “It’s a comment on fame.”
The video was filmed over the course of three months, and Yeezy was still making edits to it less than 24 hours before its premiere at the Los Angeles Forum and Tidal live stream. He was first inspired by artist Matthew Barney, who he called “my Jesus,” and tried to make his visuals tasteful.
“We were very careful with shots that had [something] sexual to take them out,” Kanye said. The result is a “quasi-religious tableau of naked, vulnerable, strangely peaceful bodies at rest under the sheets,” with West trying to say that celebrities are just like us.
As for how much of the imagery is real, the article states that “West felt he’d achieved the result he wanted, leaves you guessing as to which of the celebrities are really playing themselves and which are presumably only there by the grace of some advanced prosthetic wizardry.” It then adds, “For him, the ambiguity goes to the core of what he’s trying to say about the mythos of contemporary celebrity.”
You can check out the video for yourself on Tidal.