Grammy-winning rapper Kanye West‘s “Blood On The Leaves” MTV Video Music Awards performance sparked widespread reactions last night (August 25) and its featured background image has now been explained.
A detailed explanation of why Ye likely rocked with an iconic wildernness photo has emerged.
So when it came time to give his first live performances of the Yeezus track, he ditched the fiery glitz of his last VMA performance — his silhouette danced in front of a large image of a tree. And while viewers may have thought it was just a tree, it’s actually a work of art that has much deeper roots. It’s “Lynching Tree,” a photographic still by British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen that embodies dark historical themes of “Blood on the Leaves.” The tree — located somewhere near New Orleans — once served as a gallows for slaves, and buried near underneath it are lynched victims, according to the Schaulager museum in Basel, Switzerland, where the piece hangs. (MTV)
The background picture and performance also reportedly have connections to an upcoming historical drama film.
It’s related to McQueen’s fall film, “Twelve Years a Slave,” which tells the story of a free African-American man kidnapped in 1841 and eventually sold into slavery at a cotton plantation in Louisiana. It’s a haunting image for an at-times haunting track — and it all made for a VMA moment that will be hard to forget. And if Simone’s verbal images of “bodies swinging in the Southern breeze” weren’t enough, the backdrop made the television debut of “Blood on the Leaves” that much more unforgettable. (MTV)
Mr. West tweeted out a photo of the background performance image last night.
“BLOOD ON THE LEAVES http://www.kanyewest.com pic.twitter.com/aEt5UW3biI,” Ye tweeted August 25. (Kanye West’s Twitter)
The rap star’s performance also helped him make MTV VMAs history.
Kanye West performed at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday (August 25) for a historic seventh time. West captivated the Video Music Awards audience with a dramatic version of ‘Blood on the Leaves’, which features on his current album Yeezus. His performance was noticeably more intimate than previous turns on the awards show, with West rapping passionately against a projected image of a darkened landscape. The rapper’s seventh performance at the MTV awards show tied him with Madonna for the all-time record. (Digital Spy)