Kanye West took a break from supporting Bill Cosby on Twitter today to debut his new album at Madison Square Garden. Not having been there myself because 1. No thank you, and 2. I wasn’t invited, everything I’ve read about the event sounds genuinely, completely awesome. In the middle of what is being grumbled about as a stale Fashion Week, Kanye’s show was part runway show, part concert, part art installation, part plain and simple cool spectacle.
Kanye also did something amazing when he hired hundreds of black models to perform in the show. As one academic commenter put it, “It was apparent that one objective of the show was to celebrate the diversity within the black community.” At a time when we’re all trying to crack the code of how to diversify the creative arts, Kanye just went ahead and did it. No matter what you think about the guy, or what horrifically offensive things he posts on the internet, that’s straight-up admirable.
AND YET. Nothing that Kanye has ever done has been 100% anything. He loves to walk that 90/10 line of awesome/laughable, and just as often laughable/awesome. So what’s the 10% here? This amazing list of rules for all of those models and performers in the show. It is everything you would expect a list of Kanye rules to be. It is half poetry and metaphors, half instructions on how to not be a human. And obviously every rule is in all caps BECAUSE EVERYTHING KANYE SAYS IS EQUALLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER WRITTEN BY THE HUMAN HAND.
Just in case you need a closer look, that list is:
NO SING, UNLESS INSTRUCTED
NO EYE CONTACT
NO FAST MOVEMENTS
NO SLOW MOVEMENTS
NO SHARP MOVES
HOLD YOUR POSITION
STAY IN CHARACTER
ALTERNATE BETWEEN ATTENTION AND EASE
NO SITTING DOWN ALL AT THE SAME TIME
DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MOVEMENTS AT THE SAME TIME
IF YOU WANT TO MOVE, YOU CAN SHIFT YOUR WEIGHT
IF YOU ARE TIRED, SIT DOWN OR LYE DOWN
DO NOT LOOK AT CAMERA
HOLD POSITIONS UNTIL THE END OF THE SHOW
DO NOT TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES OF SHOES
LOOSEN UP NO STIFFNESS
DO NOT BE CASUAL
NO SEXY POSING
DO NOT ACT COOL
YOU ARE A PICTURE
BE CALM, BE STRONG, BE NEUTRAL
BEHAVE AS IF NO ONE WAS IN THE ROOM
DO NOT BREAK THE RULES
KNOW THAT YOUR ACTIONS REFLECT WITHIN THE GROUP
YOUR BEHAVIOR AFFECTS THE CODUCT OF OTHERS
BE AWARE OF OTHERS AND BE PERCAUTIOS
BEFORE THE END OF THE PERFORMANCE GET UP STAND UP STRAIGHT AT ATTENTION [I think?]
KEEP YOUR ASSIGNED POSITION ON THE FLOOR
DO NOT EVER LOOK AT THE JUMBOTRON.
To be fair, “Do not ever look at the Jumbotron” is maybe the best life advice Kanye could ever give us.