9.13.10 --- Has Kanye been forgiven?
His performance Sunday night on MTV's Video Music Awards may have started with a few boos, but when he left the stage after his performance of “Runaway,” chants of "Kanye, Kanye" rang loud.
Mariel Concepción, associate editor for Billboard.com, pointed out that die-hard fans had already moved on from his antics at last year's show when he rushed the stage and stole the moment as Taylor Swift accepted the award for best female video.
"I forgive the douchebag," said Concepción, referencing Kanye West's seemingly self-deprecating "Runaway" lyrics. "I think for the most part people were over it, by the time this rolled around. I personally think he redeemed himself when he released 'Power,' 'Monster' and all of those dope tracks."
She added, "I mean, he performed at the VMAs so clearly he has redeemed himself."
West's show-closing performance was one of the evenings most anticipated, given the skewering he took after the 2009 incident. He was even the punch line for a few jokes at Sunday night's ceremony. Host Chelsea Handler referred to West as "the big, black elephant in the room," and in introducing the rapper, comedian Aziz Ansari pretended to laugh about the previous year's incident before saying, "Well, I don't know what everybody's so mad about, that sounds hilarious."
The rapper took to the stage well after Swift performed a song she penned titled "Innocent," which seemed to forgive West for his indiscretion.
"It's all right, just wait and see, your string of lights is still bright to me," Swift sang. "Oh, who you are is not where you've been. You're still an innocent."
Abbey Goodman, executive editor of Rolling Stone.com, said West had already done a great deal toward redeeming himself with fans by publicly apologizing to Swift -- most recently via his Twitter account.
And true to form from a man who has been well-known for his ego, West took to the stage with all the "look at me" bravado he is famous for, from his red suit and multiple gold chains to the (often bleeped) lyrics that stated, "Let's have a toast for the douchebags, let's have a toast for the a*******."
"I think that it was something of a powerful, good reminder to people of what makes him a great artist," Goodman said. "He has gone through a journey this past year and wanted to show he's come through triumphant."
Ian Drew, senior music editor for Us Weekly, said West's "artistic genius outweighs any small mistake."
"The lyrics of the song are sort of about embracing your mistakes and moving forward," Drew said. "You can't deny listening to his music that he is one of great talents of today and no mistake can sequester that."