While E! let Ed Sheeran get away with a toilet mouth, ABC was intent on making sure no bad words got across their airwaves during Kanye West’s show-closing performance at the Billboard Music Awards.
One problem: they censored a huge chunk of his performance.
Reprising the fire theme he used to premiere “All Day” at the BRIT Awards back in February, Dr. West played “All Day” again, from the upcoming Swish (or whatever it winds up being called), followed by Yeezus‘ “Black Skinhead.” But in front of an inferno, his figure just a haze on camera, West kept saying something that bothered ABC’s censors. As you can hear in the video above (or not hear, as the case may be), his performance was littered with long stretches of silence.
The verses in “All Day” are punctuated by the use of a particular racially charged word, but from what we can hear Kanye does a good job of self-censoring himself there. So he either went off-script for something far more profane or ABC’s censors had a heavy finger on the button, because instead of censoring each use of that particular word, the network opted to just wipe almost everything out. By my very unofficial count, 1:21 of Kanye’s 5:20 performance was censored.
Call it a hunch, but I think we can expect Kanye to voice his opinion over the matter in the very near future.