I’ve decided to take another look at Kanye West’s “Power” musical portrait and expand on my “snap judgement” thoughts I posted last friDay. For the most part, I’m still sticking to those original thoughts and feelings I’ve had, but I was curious what the rest of the interwebs had been saying about him and/or the video and how they may have interpreted it’s meaning.
One thing that bothers me, and this is slightly off-topic, but those comments that were against this video, calling it “evil” or “satanic” or invoking the Illuminati, I couldn’t take too seriously due to spelling and grammar issues, among other things. I mean, they were barely making a point as it was, but still… if you want to tell me to “read a book” or “educate myself”, please be sure you do the same too while forming complete thoughts. Just saying.
Anyway, with education and research, you will come to find that not everything that looks weird or demonic is as evil as you think. I really can’t speak for Kanye or anyone else for that matter, but I’m all for visually stimulating content that has something to say, whether it’s “good” or “evil” or just a point of view which could literally mean anything. What I’m talking about here is the women with the horns on their heads. Immediately, people are quick to flock to devil worshiping. On the contrary, this video invokes a lot of Ancient Egyptian themes, and some of the gods and goddesses had long goat-like horns (and staffs). One such Egyptian goddess goes by the name of Hathor, who is the goddess of the sky, love, music and motherhood… among other things. I read an interpretation that compared these Hathor-like women to Kanye’s mother whom probably represented these things in Kanye’s life. I also read someone considered the woman with the wings to also be a representation of his mother, being an angelic figure. Whatever or whoever she is supposed to represent, it’s one of my favorite visuals in this video, which is just so aesthetically pleasing (mirror images, colors, lights, darks, slow motion, etc.).
By no means am I an expert on all of this. The more I read into ancient symbols and what they symbolize, the more I get my own idea of what they could possibly mean to the artists creating this portrait. Artists, as is more than one. This is a collaboration of Kanye West and Marco Brambilla. I’m still researching Brambilla, but from the interviews, it sounds like he may have been the driving force behind how and what visuals are played out, interpreting West’s lyrics to an exaggerated sense of the concept of power.
And let’s not forget, that’s what’s being portrayed in this portrait: power. Or, what does it look like if one man has too much power? Sexy women with staffs, dancing and sitting around eating grapes? Sure. Walking down a pillar hallway that leads somewhere into the sky? Why not? More sexy women hanging upside-down with upward flowing water? Of course!
But with great power, comes great responsibility. Oops, wrong quote. Or is it?
My favorite nugget I found most interesting was the sword above Kanye’s head. This is the Sword of Damocles. As much as I love Greek stories and mythologies, I’m surprised I’ve never heard of it until recently. Rather than tell you in my own words and screw it up, I suggest reading this to get a sense of why that sword is dangling above Kanye’s head:
The Damocles of the anecdote was an obsequious courtier in the court of Dionysius II of Syracuse, a fourth century BC tyrant of Syracuse. Damocles exclaimed that, as a great man of power and authority, Dionysius was truly fortunate. Dionysius offered to switch places with him for a day, so that Damocles could taste first hand that fortune. In the evening a banquet was held where Damocles very much enjoyed being waited upon like a king. Only at the end of the meal did he look up and notice a sharpened sword hanging directly above his head by a single horse-hair. Immediately, he lost all taste for the fine foods and beautiful companions and asked leave of the tyrant, saying he no longer wanted to be so fortunate. Dionysius had successfully conveyed a sense of the constant fear in which the great man lives. – Wikipedia.org
When I first saw the video, I had no idea why it was there or what it meant. But now, it makes so much more sense.
But back to Egyptian mythology, because I don’t want people to think I’m leaving out Kanye’s new bling: that is Horus. He is the god of the sky, kings and protection. It is also said that Hathor is Horus’s mother. So there’s that. But what does Horus have to do with Kanye? Or at least what does it mean in this portrait? Well, it’s obvious King Kanye would want to invoke the god of the kind for protection from all attacks… we’ve seen the Sword of Damocles, and we see, to my count, three potential assassins. To be honest, I have no clue why he chose Horus, but that’s what I came up with. It may require more research or someone just asking him what it all means.
And what about those two (or three) dudes with the swords. (The third dude is actually the first “assailant” with the dagger who is upside down.) What these people represent to me is equivalent to the tragic play Julius Caesar. I don’t even have to take it that far, but it’s clear that anyone who is standing in a position of power is or can be a target to be taken down.
Lastly, let’s not forget this is a work of art, and a moving painting. I know when I was young, even today, I’m intrigued by those classic Renaissance paintings hundreds of years ago that depicted a single scene with so much going on, so much imagery, and didn’t have to move. Surely those are still up for interpretation, and I bet you people are depicting conspiracy theories behind those too. Actually, I know they are. Thanks a lot The da Vinci Code.
If anything, hopefully instead of scaring people or making them jump to easy scapegoats and radical confusions as Illuminati affiliated or selling one’s soul to the devil (which I personally believe is impossible for reason I choose not discuss right now), people will do what the artist might want them to do and investigate what’s really being said. Start educating yourself and do a little research. Can’t we be a little more cultured? And for the sake of being unique, can’t we have some thought provoking entertainment? So when I mean education and research, I mean looking around besides Wikipedia, although that is my first stop to half of what I research. Dare I suggest to crack open an actual book?
Regarding the Illuminati–is Kanye in cahoots with them? I don’t know. My gut is telling me no. Conspiracy theories are just that: theories. Meaning, they haven’t been proven. And some of them may never be because quite possibly, there is nothing to prove. People will believe what they want so there’s no point in the artist(s) trying to tell them otherwise. I think we covered this with Jay-Z’s visually stimulating “On To The Next One.” I’m still doing research on what the Illuminati is all about, but I’m not convinced they are part of “Power” however I wouldn’t put it past Kanye or Marco to incorporate it in this video since it depicts a source of power. Both of these artists are very cultured individuals (Kanye’s blog is truth to this), so why not incorporate these past images in your present work? The theorists say the triangle/pyramid at the end is an Illuminati image, as well as a somewhat hidden eye in the clouds. These are the same things you see on your money and the Free Masons and blah blah blah. It’s not that I doubt their existence, it’s just that I don’t care.
And let’s be honest, if this were some typical video showing off classy cars, would we even be talking about it as much as we are? You personally may not be talking about it, but it’s being talk about. Trust me. (A lot of the traffic that I get comes from my analysis of Jay-Z’s video.) And if I’m wrong and these artists are really part of a secret conspiracy, then I’m wrong. But I am not defending them, I’m defending art and something I find original, unique and thought-provoking. Plus it’s a good song and I can’t wait for the album!
To be such a short video, it gets a lot of people talking… including myself and I still have more thoughts about it. But that’s the point of a good piece of art, right?