Decoding Kanye West's "Fade" Video with Teyana Taylor

Decoding Kanye West's "Fade" Video with Teyana Taylor

Unpacking Yeezy's latest work of art, rife with pop culture references

Unpacking Yeezy's latest work of art, rife with pop culture references

Text: Ian David Monroe

Last night at the VMAs, Kanye West was given five minutes to do whatever the hell he wanted. Instead of delivering a long—but undoubtedly content-creating—monologue, he dropped a music video for his track "Fade." The video features singer Teyana Taylor delivering an impressive dance performance and then getting steamy with her boyfriend, basket ball player Iman Shumpert. There's a surprise twist at the end, too, that had plenty buzzing.

Here, we dissect four of the video's inspirations from Jean-Paul Goude to Flashdance.

Jean-Paul Goude and Grace Jones This is, perhaps, the most obvious visual reference for the video: plenty of body oil and barely-there athletic-wear highlight the black female body in both works. West's relationship with Goude spans years and was cemented with Kim Kardashian's Paper magazine cover, photographed by Goude. That West would pay homage to the image-maker seems only natural.

Do The Right Thing The gym setup of West's video had many thinking of Rosie Perez's dancing and boxing in the opening credits of Spike Lees' Do The Right Thing. The similarities aren't as immediately obvious, but they're both kick ass.

Flashdance It's hard for audiences to see fast-paced dancing in '80s workout clothes and not immediately think of Flashdance, and for good reason. The scene above is as iconic as the come, and has been riffed on tirelessly in the decades following.

Michael Jackson's "Black or White" Okay, this one might be a little bit of a stretch. While Jackson certainly isn't greased up, he does transform into a panther, the same way Teyana does. Jackson's reference in the '90s was to the Black Panthers, but can the same be said of West's? Probably not. "Fade" seems more about putting the female body on a pedestal than politics.

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