- The Washington Times - Monday, September 21, 2009

Defending Kanye

More than a week after his outburst at the MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye West continues to make headlines — and he now has a famous defender.

Fellow rapper Jay-Z told a British radio station that while Mr. West’s now infamous interruption of Taylor Swift at the Sept. 13 VMAs was “rude” and “inappropriate at the time,” his behavior didn’t warrant the overwhelmingly negative backlash it received, says the New York Daily News, citing a report from bbc.co.uk.

“He didn’t kill anybody,” Jay-Z told the station, adding that Mr. West is “just a super-passionate person.”

“Of course it was rude because it was (Miss Swift’s) moment, but that’s the way he really felt. I think it was rude . … He’s on the cover of every paper. He didn’t kill anybody. No one got harmed.”

Mr. West drew the ire of music industry colleagues, fans and even President Obama when he jumped onstage during Miss Swift’s acceptance speech and grabbed the mike from her, telling the Radio City Hall crowd that Beyonce — Jay-Z’s wife — should have won the award for best female video instead.

A contrite Mr. West later apologized.

Jay-Z, who collaborated with Mr. West on Jay-Z’s new CD, “The Blueprint 3,” was in England for a concert at Wembley Stadium during the weekend, the Daily News said.

Malaysia bound

Speaking of Jay-Z, Associated Press reported on Sunday that his missus, Beyonce Knowles, says she will perform in Malaysia in October. The news comes two years after she canceled a show in this Muslim-majority country after protesters threatened to disrupt the concert because of her sexy image and clothing.

The R&B superstar’s upcoming show is already drawing the ire of conservatives in that country, where female performers are required to cover up from the shoulders to knees with no cleavage showing, AP notes.

Miss Knowles said on her Web site that she will take the stage at a stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s biggest city, on Oct. 25.

Sabki Yusof, youth vice head of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, said Sunday that they would send a protest note to the government over the concert. He said it was the government’s “responsibility to protect the people of Malaysia” from what he described as immoral Western influences.

In the most recent controversy, the government late last month at first barred, then reversed the order forbidding Muslims from attending a Black Eyed Peas concert because it was sponsored by a beer company. With the ban lifted, Muslims can now watch the American hip-hop stars at a theme park near Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

On the mend

Leonard Cohen is recovering after collapsing onstage while on tour in eastern Spain, his music company said Saturday.

The veteran poet and performer has been released from hospital after suffering from a stomach complaint, Doctor Music Concerts said in a statement.

According to Associated Press, Mr. Cohen was partway through his song “Bird on the Wire” in Valencia when he fainted, causing the band to stop playing to rush to his aid as concertgoers watched. The concert was stopped.

A video showing Mr. Cohen kneeling down several times during the performance and then keeling over sideways during a saxophone solo has been placed on YouTube on the Web by a fan.

The Canadian-born musician, who turns 75 on Monday, was taken by ambulance to the Nueve de Octubre hospital in Valencia but released early Saturday, Barcelona-based Doctor Music Concerts said. He was due to perform the last show of his Spanish tour at the Palau Sant Jordi concert hall in Barcelona on Monday.

Mr. Cohen had to come out of retirement five years ago when he discovered that most of his retirement fund had disappeared in a disputed case of mismanagement. After leaving Spain, he was due to perform next at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., on Oct. 17, his Web site said.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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