Your Guide to Kanye West’s Video for ‘Famous’
Is that really Taylor Swift?
Update: Representatives for George W. Bush and Donald Trump have confirmed that the “George W. Bush” and “Donald Trump” in “Famous” are, shockingly, not the real George W. Bush or Donald Trump.
By now you’ve heard about “Famous,” a little video Kanye West premiered in Los Angeles last night. The provocative (though non-sexual) visual features a dozen nude models of celebrities, including Donald Trump, Taylor Swift, and West’s wife Kim Kardashian. As one might imagine, “Famous” generated a lot of interest, and not just among the sold-out crowd that paid $25 a head to see ‘Ye unveil it IRL. It also raised a few questions, which we will endeavor to answer below.
How do I watch “Famous”?
If you missed last night’s free premiere livestream, you’ll need a TIDAL subscription to legally watch the full re-play.
What happens in the video?
Not a whole lot, to be honest. There’s an image of a sunrise (above), followed by grainy, home-movie-esque shots that gradually reveal the motionless figures’ identities while “Famous” plays in the background. The credits roll, and then there’s a slow, final zoom-out where we see everyone at once. Cut to a sunset, and “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 2.”
Where does Kanye find his inspiration?
Where doesn’t he? This time, it’s from a painting — a giant mural of snoozing nudes called Sleep by contemporary American realist Vincent Desiderio:
Kanye took Vincent Desiderio’s “Sleep” & brought it to life with a modern twist.. if that isn’t genius idk what is. pic.twitter.com/bSDddfQFNo
— RAY MUÑOZ (@raymunoz94) 25 juin 2016
So who all is in “Famous”?
From left to right: George W. Bush, former president; Anna Wintour, Vogue magazine editor; Donald Trump, presidential candidate; Rihanna, singer; Chris Brown, singer and Rihanna’s ex; Taylor Swift, Kanye’s nemesis; Kanye West himself; Kim Kardashian West, reality television star and businesswoman; Ray J, singer and Kim’s ex; Amber Rose, model and Kanye’s ex; Caitlyn Jenner, reality television star and Kanye’s mother-in-law’s ex; Bill Cosby, disgraced comedian.
Wait, is that actually Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, and Bill Cosby?
Almost certainly not. In an Instagram post, Chris Brown referred to his character as a wax mannequin. He was mad that the sculpture was showing some butt crack, but otherwise he seemed okay with it.
Does this mean that Kanye is somehow endorsing Cosby?
No, he says. In the aforementioned Vanity Fair interview, West said that “Famous” is “a comment on fame,” and that he’s not “in support or anti any” of the people in it. In the same interview, we learned that the making of the video required three months and four different draft versions. ‘Ye also claims that some of his other celebrity friends asked to join the tableau.
Chris Brown’s not mad, but is anyone else going to sue Kanye over this?
Unclear — it’s been less than 24 hours. Kanye, however, would really, really like someone to sue him (though he’s since deleted the tweet):
Can somebody sue me already #I’llwait
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) June 25, 2016
We’ll keep you updated. This has been your “Famous” explainer.