TIME Television

Here’s a Sliver of Good News About Women in Television

FRANCE-ENTERTAINMENT-INTERNET-FILM-TELEVISION-NETFLIX
"Orange is the New Black" cast members US actresses Laura Prepon, Taylor Schilling, Uzo Aduba and Kate Mulgrew pose during a photocall for the launch of Netflix in France on September 15, 2014 in Paris. Francois Guillot—AFP/Getty Images

A new study shows that prime-time television is still very much a boys club, but women are gaining ground in one key area

By now, we’ve almost become accustomed to the depressing figures about how few women are working in the film industry — and television is no different. In front of the camera and behind, the television industry is notoriously a boys’ club. But according to the 17th annual “Boxed In” study, conducted by San Diego State’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, which analyzes how many women are working in primetime television and was released Tuesday, there are some key areas where women are on the rise.

Let’s start with the good news: Women producers are on the up in television as this year women accounted for 43% of all producers on network television shows, an increase of five percent over last year. It’s also a 14% increase since 1997-98 (the first year the “Boxed In” study was conducted). Also promisingly, women made up 13% of all directors this year, an increase of one percent from the previous year and an increase of five percent since 1997-98.

Unfortunately, the report wasn’t all positive or even mostly positive about the current state for women in primetime television. This year, the number of women in writing and executive producing positions had decreased from last year’s figures. What’s more, only 20% of creators were women, a decrease of four percent from last year.

Women working in front of the cameras also took a hit, as women only made up 42% of all speaking characters and 42% of major characters this year, marking a one percent decrease from last year.

Though the television roles off-screen are less glamorous than the ones on-screen, the study also found the two are linked. More specifically, the higher the number of women behind the cameras often corresponded with a higher number of women in front of the camera. According to the numbers, when a program had at least one woman writer on staff, “females accounted for 46% of all characters.” Yet the number of female characters dropped to 38% when there were no women writers on staff.

While the above numbers only take network television into account, “Boxed In” did also factor in the number of women working in cable and Netflix shows. Sadly, those numbers don’t exactly offer improvements. Looking at broadcast, cable and Netflix together, women made up 40% of producers, 26% of writers, 21% of executive producers, 19% of creators and 13% of directors. (Though once again, producers and directors marked a marginal increase over last year’s figures.)

With the commercial and critical success of women-led shows such as Orange is the New Black and Scandal and Girls, it might be hard to believe that now isn’t a pinnacle time for women in the industry. Yet, according to the figures and Dr. Martha Lauzen, the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, that’s simply not the case.

“For many years, women have experienced slow but incremental growth both as characters on screen and working in key positions behind the scenes,” Lauzen said in a statement. “However, that progress, small though it was, now appears to have stalled.”

TIME Television

Review: Red Band Society Has Faults and (Potential) Stars

Alex Martinez / FOX

The teen hospital dramedy's first hour is shaky, but at moments manages to be more than Glee, M.D.

Glee, which ends its run this season, premiered five years ago. That may not seem like much to you, but it’s a generation in terms of adolescence; a 13 year old when we first visited McKinley High is now old enough to vote, making way for new teens with new tastes. Over that time, we’ve gone from Glee‘s snarky outsiderdom to the sincere likes of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars–and YA has become so culturally dominant that it was one inspiration for critic A.O. Scott to declare the death of adulthood in American culture. Glee packaged stories of identity and tolerance in self-awareness and camp. By 2014, teen stories are big business and–as in John Green’s novel Stars and the hit movie of the same name–often serious as death.

Red Band Society (Wednesdays on Fox) starts off with one foot in the Glee style and one foot, well, in the grave. Its premise–an ensemble dramedy about seriously ill kids in a long-term pediatric hospital–is so conveniently timed you might call it The Fox in Our Stars. (It’s adapted, to be fair, from a Catalan drama that predates the Green novel.)

But it kicks off with a scene and a sensibility that’s straight out of Glee: wicked-mean cheerleader Kara (Zoe Levin) collapses during a practice and her tormented classmates crowd around to take smartphone pictures of the fallen Queen B. Kara has an enlarged heart–irony alert–which lands her at in L.A.’s Ocean Park hospital, where she quickly tries to assert alpha status.

There’s already a tight social circle at Ocean Park, though, including charismatic Leo (Charlie Rowe), a longtime resident with cancer; rascally Dash (Astro), his best friend, who has cystic fibrosis; and Emma (Ciara Bravo), Leo’s sometime girlfriend, a brainy girl with an eating disorder. And while Kara is the first character we meet, our guide to the ways of Ocean Park turns out to be Charlie (Griffin Gluck), a 12-year-old who narrates the series from within a coma.

Ocean Park is part high school (the kids take classes on site), part camp for misfits and rebels–authority figures include Octavia Spencer as no-B.S. Nurse Jackson–but all hospital, which means that for all the escapades of the pilot, there’s always the looming threat of darker things. One reminder comes when we meet cancer patient Jordi (Nolan Sotillo), who has maneuvered his way into the care of a top specialist, engineering his treatment–having a leg amputated–the way other kids his age might angle to get into a good college.

Promisingly, the pilot of Red Band (like Glee‘s) has a ton of voice, but its tone wobbles wildly as it overcorrects away from sentimentality and then straight into it. One moment it’s all parties, fart jokes and gallows humor, the next Leo is dispensing inspirational quotes like a piñata: “Luck isn’t getting what you want. It’s surviving what you don’t want,” and “Your body isn’t you. Your soul is you, and they can never cut into your soul.”

It’s a tricky challenge that Red Band has, of course. It’s about kids who might die, plain and simple, and it would be irresponsible to act otherwise. And yet–just like the hospitalized kids themselves–its audience doesn’t want to dwell on the morbid, to forget the fun and promise of life. Indeed, a producer has already told press that the first season won’t have “a body count”–but the risk of that is offering all the beautiful sadness of young tragedy while cleansing it of many of its consequences. (The danger of romanticizing illness is inevitable on TV, where, for instance, the ward is bound to be filled exclusively with patients who are extremely good-looking.)

But the great thing about teen stories is that not only do they give you permission for wild swings in tone and emotion, on some level they wouldn’t be believable without them. If Red Band is Glee-like at some moments and mawkish at others, the first hour has moments–like the stirring final sequence–that combine the two modes for a rush of earned feeling. If the show finds that balance, it could lead network teen TV, that recovering mean cheerleader, from Glee mode to the thing that comes next.

TIME Video Games

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Dev ‘Not Worried’ About Titanfall ‘Ripoff’ Claims

Advanced Warfare will "speak for itself" when people play it, says Sledgehammer cofounder Michael Condrey.

“Ripoff.” You’ve seen it said of gazillions of books, films, songs and video games. You’ve probably said it yourself about something at one point or another.

So what about Activision’s upcoming Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare? Is it just a Titanfall clone?

Don’t laugh: some people think so. Enough people that outlets like GameSpot and Game Informer made space, crazily, to write about it.

And check out what Advanced Warfare developer (and studio Sledgehammer cofounder) Michael Condrey just said about the matter on Twitter.

(It’s a wonder Condrey bothered to respond at all.)

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a military-minded first-person shooter about exoskeletal augmented soldiers set in the near future. Titanfall is a first-person shooter set somewhere outside our solar system on the bleeding perimeter of space exploration. Titanfall has you running around in multiplayer arenas occasionally piloting robots of the sort FASA popularized decades ago. Advanced Warfare has you running around in both solo or multiplayer modes wearing a form-fitting contraption a bit like the thingamajig Matt Damon claps around his body in Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium.

Here’s Advanced Warfare‘s multiplayer trailer again. It looks like any other multiplayer first-person shooter trailer: a little nuttier, a little more vertical, sure, but we’re talking FPS principles here. If futuristic run-and-gunning’s a crime, string all the copycat perps up — but you’re going to need a pretty long rope.

Put a squirt gun to my head, and I’d admit I do see several crude similarities between some of Advanced Warfare‘s gameplay principles and those pioneered by a certain other game. Military-inspired combat body suits? Predator-style camouflage? Strength augmentation and the ability to make crazy-high jumps? Titanfall schmitenfall, that sounds like Crytek’s Crysis to me.

TIME celebrity

This Picture of Benedict Cumberbatch As Mr. Darcy Will Make The World a Better Place

It's for charity!

Correction appended 5:02 p.m. ET

This photograph of Benedict Cumberbatch posed as Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy is a literal act of charity.

The Sherlock star recreated Colin Firth’s iconic scene of Darcy in the lake (from the BBC’s 1995 television adaptation of the novel), as a part of the Give Up Clothes For Good campaign by Cancer Research UK and clothing store TK Maxx.

It’s also an act of charity for ogling fans — although we’re not quite sure what we did to deserve it.

In case you needed to remember the original scene of Colin Firth playing a very wet Fitzwilliam Darcy, we’ve provided video footage below:

The original version of this story incorrectly stated the first name of the Jane Austen character played by Colin Firth in the 1995 BBC miniseries. It is Fitzwilliam.

TIME Books

Watch the New Trailer for Carl Hiaasen’s First YA Novel

Clinton Tyree, the wild-man Florida governor from almost 30 years of Hiaasen fiction, is back—this time in Skink—No Surrender, a book for younger readers

Bestselling author Carl Hiaasen is joining other adult writers who have recently gone young-adult with Skink—No Surrender, out next week from Knopf. Hiaasen, the author of Florida-based crime thrillers like Strip Tease (which became the movie starring Demi Moore) and Bad Monkey, has also written four novels for children.

Skink—No Surrender, his first for young adults, introduces the teen audience to the eccentric character of Clinton Tyree, a glass-eyed, roadkill-eating Vietnam vet and former Governor of Florida who has gone crazy and lives off the grid (read: on the beach), costumed in a floral shower cap and long beard woven with vulture beaks. He is known as Skink, both to the characters in the book, and to readers who would recognize him from numerous “grownup” novels, as Hiaasen calls his adult books, starting with Skink’s first appearance in Double Whammy 27 years ago.

Richard, Skink—No Surrender‘s teenage protagonist, meets Skink on the beach as he waits for his 14-year-old cousin Malley, whom readers soon learn has run away from home with a boy she met in an Internet chatroom. Richard and Skink form a two-man search party, and the novel is off and running.

Though it’s typically the teen characters in young adult books who have readers itching for a sequel, it’s the adult in this story who leaves a lasting impression. “Kids dig the irreverence of the fact that [Skink] sort of lives on the edge and does exactly what he wants,” Hiaasen says in the book’s official trailer, revealed today on TIME.com.

TIME Television

See Barbra Streisand’s First Appearance on The Tonight Show in 51 Years

Streisand and Fallon performed a duet where Fallon played Elvis

Actress and singer Barbra Streisand appeared on The Tonight Show Monday for the first time since 1963, and sang a duet with host Jimmy Fallon.

The pair sang Elvis Presley’s hit song “Love Me Tender,” with Fallon standing in for “the king” complete with the appropriate hair-do and sunglasses.

Streisand’s appearance on The Tonight Show was to promote her new duets album, “Partners,” which has tracks that sample Elvis recordings. Streisand’s last appearance on a late night talk show was a brief cameo on the The Late Show in 1994.

 

TIME Music

Review: Chris Brown Chases Hits, But Mostly Misses, on X

RCA Records

There are a few standouts on the troubled R&B star's latest LP, but taken as a whole, X is cynical, trend-chasing and largely impersonal

Pockmarked by stints in rehab and jail, mandated court appearances, and a shooting at his pre-VMA party this summer, 2014 has ended up another tumultuous year in a string of many for Chris Brown. The intense, continuous coverage of Brown’s legal drama, personal problems, and relationships casts a shadow on the fact that he remains one of pop and R&B’s most reliable hitmakers, more than a half-decade after his assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna threw his white-hot career into jeopardy. In the first half of this decade, he’s released four top 10 singles and two #1 albums, with features on dozens of other minor hits. Even as he spent much of this year bouncing between treatment and custody, his single “Loyal” lingered in the top 10 of both the pop and R&B charts; it achieved a level of cultural penetration (as measured by tweets and spin-off memes) matched by few songs released this year. Brown has been preparing his new album, the simply titled X, for nearly eighteen months, though it’s been plagued a series of delays and singles that failed to make a lasting impression on the charts. The final product is a widely varied mishmash of genres, producers, and collaborators that fails to achieve any sort of tonal or thematic consistency. It begs the question: other than a vehicle for record sales and controversy clicks, who is Chris Brown as an artist?

The best place to start a review of Brown’s strengths and weaknesses is his voice, a finicky instrument that lies at the core of his appeal. It’s thin, nimble, and agile, and possessed of surprising range; in many ways, it’s the musical manifestation of Brown’s skill as a dancer, his other major talent. Though he’s undoubtedly skilled, he doesn’t have the emotional depth or richness of tone required to successfully convey affection or generate a palpable mood; rather than drum up true feeling, he tends to sing about sex like it’s an athletic event, and about relationships as if they’re purely transactional in nature. (This was true even before he wrote and released a song called “Add Me In” that happens to couch a marathon bedroom session in hacky math metaphors galore.)

The qualities Brown lacks are thrown into harsh light when he’s placed alongside other male singers on some of the collaborations on X: Usher, Trey Songz, and R. Kelly all appear in the album’s first half and glide effortlessly alongside Brown, fluttering around him or summoning a sort of slippery salaciousness that makes him sound childlike by comparison. He sounds best on the songs where he can excitedly flit around, dipping in between zippy electro-funk riffs or sweaty synthesizer lines; “Add Me In,” dopey R. Kelly homage “Songs on 12 Play,” and the strobe-lit “Body Shots” all shine. The agility in his vice also pairs well with the strain of minimal electro-R&B currently in vogue, openly lecherous and hanging on two or three note melodies; the aforementioned “Loyal,” a stunner thanks to the writing of sordid rising star Ty Dolla $ign, and DJ Mustard knock-off/Akon feature “Came to Do” are both solid examples of the form.

You’d think at this point in his career — X is his sixth studio album, and he’s been a major star for nearly a decade — that Brown would have a decent handle on his comfort zones and weaknesses, that he would show even a passing interest in achieving some sort of cohesiveness or in doubling down on his strengths. This album is an hour’s worth of evidence that no such interest exists. It’s hard to get a handle on X because so much of the album is spent trend-chasing: there’s big tent EDM-pop with super-producers like Diplo and Danja, straightforwardly filthy R&B slow jams, moody relationship ballads, and even a folky crossover bid that sounds like a Phillip Phillips castoff, all contained within the album’s sprawl. And speaking of sprawl, the album isn’t helped by its length, either: stretching over an hour in length (and longer still in its deluxe form, stuffed with the singles that failed to launch the record in the first place), it’s tough to digest in one large sitting, and is rendered repetitive by recycled lyrical motifs and anemic production. The overall impression is that of an artist whose guiding light is commercial performance, rather than any sort of creative aspirations or overarching identity.

That’s perfectly fine, of course. It would be naive and wrongheaded to suggest that artistic achievement is the only appropriate motivation for musicians, or the driving force behind the music industry — but there’s a transparency and a spinelessness to X that makes it hard to connect with Brown as a creative human force, rather than a melody delivery mechanism. And that’s unfortunate, because given his long and well-documented history of personal strife — abuse, homophobia, cool defensiveness — that kind of basic human connection is the kind of thing Brown could probably stand to cultivate.

TIME Music

R&B Singer August Alsina Collapsed During His New York Show

106 & Park LIVE
Recording artist August Alsina visits BET studio on September 15, 2014 in New York City. Bennett Raglin—BET/Getty

There's no word yet on the "No Love" singer's condition

R&B singer August Alsina collapsed and fell off the stage during a Monday night concert at Manhattan’s Irving Plaza, E! News reports.

In disturbing fan videos, security personnel are seen gesturing for someone to cut the music and then rushing toward Alsina — BET’s best new artist of the year — after he tumbles into a stunned crowd.

Security brought Alsina backstage, and paramedics later loaded him into an ambulance. The singer was alert enough to wave to fans from the stretcher, TMZ says.

The reasons for the 22-year-old’s collapse, as well as his current condition, are still unknown, E! News says.

The show was the third of four concerts in Alsina’s Testimony Live tour. The last concert is scheduled for Sept. 21 in Kansas.

Just hours before his ill-fated performance, Alsina released the video for “No Love (Remix)” — a duet with rap idol Nicki Minaj.

TIME Television

Dancing With the Stars Watch: Get the Party Started

ERIN ANDREWS, EMMA SLATER, MICHAEL WALTRIP, JONATHAN BENNETT, ALLISON HOLKER, ANTONIO SABATO JR., CHERYL BURKE, WITNEY CARSON, VAL CHMERKOVSKIY, JANEL PARRISH, ALFONSO RIBEIRO, TONY DOVOLANI, BETSEY JOHNSON, DEREK HOUGH, BETHANY MOTA, TOM BERGERON, TOMMY
Ida Mae Astute—ABC

Featuring a Cheech & Chong reunion and a cha-cha set to Snoop's "Drop It Like It's Hot"

Welcome to Season 19 of Dancing With the Stars. where spandex and sparkle rule and taping your dance pants to your delicate parts is all part of the fun. This year, the producers have outdone themselves in finding a suitably strange blend of D-list stars that simultaneously make you smile and scratch your head, like Pop Rocks and Coke. In the mix are public broadcasting host Tavis Smiley, pot-smoking legend Tommy Chong, YouTube sensation Bethany Mota, Duck Dynasty heir Sadie Robertson, Olympian Lolo Jones, NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip, Fresh Prince star Alfonso Ribeiro and so many more. (File under: things that make you go hmmm.)

Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews will be hosting the festivities, while Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba will handle judging. This season, Carrie Ann will not be outnumbered on the bench, because there’s a new old face at the judges’ table — former pro Julianne Hough has returned to the fold after deciding it sounded like fun to judge her little brother all season. (Low scores could make Christmas pretty awkward for the Houghs.) Let’s get the party started.

Here’s what happened on Dancing With the Stars:

Antonio Sabato Jr. and Cheryl Burke: Cheryl wants the Mirror Ball trophy, since we’re on Season 19, and she hasn’t won since Season 3. To help her achieve her dreams, the producers paired her with Calvin Klein model and soap star Anthony. They hit the dance floor with a very first week cha-cha. It’s clear that Antonio has some dance skills, but can’t quite remember where he left them. OG Grumpy Cat Len Goodman thinks Antonio has dance in his blood, but it hasn’t reached his feet yet. Bruno makes the best of things and takes the opportunity to say the word bulging a few times, but it’s unanimous that there is room for improvement. 25/40

Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev: Before she played a string of hot moms — first in Back to the Future and now on Switched at Birth — Lea Thompson was a ballet dancer. Thirty-two years on, she is using those skills to wow the judges with a seemingly effortless foxtrot. She’s paired with Artem, who is a four-year vet of the U.K.’s Strictly Come Dancing, and they worked well together, with an easy chemistry (minus the many cougar jokes) for one of the best first-week dances that Carrie Ann has ever seen, which is a very sweet lie. 28/40

Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy: Janel has some dance training (and she was in Les Miz for a long time so is very comfortable on stage), so it’s no real surprise that she comes out of the gates with a firecracker of a jive. It was enough to get her Pretty Little Liars co-star (and former DWTS contestant) Brant Daugherty on his feet in the audience and earn a “well done” from Len. During the interview, Val accused Mona … er, Janel, of having “grandma swag,” which Val swears is a good thing. Whatever you say, Val. 29/30

Lolo Jones and Keo Motsepe: Olympic hurdler and bobsledder Lolo seemingly introduced herself to her new partner by simultaneously shaking his hand and announcing that she’s saving herself for marriage and won’t feel comfortable doing any routines that require intimacy. Once that was out of the way, they got down to business, delivering a stilted cha-cha that looked stiff and uncomfortable. Lolo explained that there was a technical difficulty that threw her off, causing Bruno to give his first “Let It Go” performance of the season, reminding Lolo that as a performer, if something goes wrong, the show still must go on. 22/40

Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani: Fashion designer Betsey Johnson may not be the best dancer, but she has a lot of attitude and will definitely sweep the Contestant Most Likely to Already Have Two Mirror Ball Trophies in Her Bathroom category. The 72-year-old busted a move to Madonna’s “Material Girl,” but had an unfortunate run in with a stubborn boa, which spoiled the moment. She seemed truly heartbroken over her low score. Woman did a split! Vote for her, people. 20/40

Tavis Smiley and Sharna Burgess: PBS mainstay and self-professed serious person Tavis is determined to reveal his lighter side by literally shaking his booty on national television. The soon-to-be 50-year-old did a classy and smooth foxtrot with Sharna. Carrie Ann called him “a natural,” but Len one-upped her by calling him “nifty at 50.” 29/40

Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: Duck Dynasty scion Sadie Robertson was paired up with Mark Ballas, who deemed her “cute as a button.” Sadie announced that she lives in Footloose and her school doesn’t allow dancing, but she was probably just trying to suck up to Julianne Hough. Their cha-cha earned raves from the judges who could not believe she had never danced before and could barely contain their glee at having such a talented young lady in their ranks. Then they made a string of horrifying duck jokes that don’t deserve to be repeated. 34/40

Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater: Michael Waltrip went full NASCAR in his dance, wearing a DWTS emblazoned jumpsuit and dancing a cha-cha to “Born to Be Wild.” While Michael is not a natural born killer on the dance floor, Emma did get comedian Bill Engvall pretty far in the competition, which gives Michael some hope. Len accused him of not getting out of first gear, and Bruno said he looked like “a golf cart trying to keep up with a Ferrari,” but Michael doesn’t care, because he loves competition. 25/40

Jonathan Bennett and Allison Holker: Jonathan, who is still eking out fame from Mean Girls, wanted to be on the show because his father died a few months ago and DWTS was his father’s favorite show and now I feel like a mean girl. The judges loved his fast-paced routine and Carrie Ann admired his “flicks and kicks.” 30/40

Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: Tommy introduced himself as “the original stoner” and the pot puns were soon rolling (like a joint) off of everyone’s tongues. They hit the dance floor in a green lowrider, driven by Cheech Marin, to bust out a serious cha-cha to Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” It was one of those brilliantly bizarre only-on-Dancing-With-the-Stars moments that make the show worth watching. The judges had no idea what to make of it, but Bruno summed it up, “I was expecting Bad Grandpa and I got cool grandpa!” Even Len had no criticisms. When Erin asked him what he thought of the performance, Chong just deadpanned, “Is it over?” proving he is the best ever. 27/40

Randy Couture and Karina Smirnoff: Karina, who had bad luck last season when she was partnered with lumber-legged hockey star Sean Avery and was eliminated in Week 2, is now paired with another manly athlete — MMA star Randy. This year, though, the producers did her right, and after some hard work in rehearsals, Randy sailed around the dance floor with a smooth foxtrot that left the judges wowed and Julianne asking for a phone number. 31/40

Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: Bethany is a popular YouTube vlogger with a bazillion subscribers and devoted following of fans that DWTS is hoping to rope into watching the show. To that end, Derek prepped a jive that is “cute and bubbly, just like Bethany.” Naturally it’s set to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” The judges seemed distracted during voting (probably Googling vlogger) but did notice that Bethany seemed to lose energy during her transitions, which seems pretty nitpicky for Week 1. For his part, Bruno anointed her “huge on the Web and pretty good on the dance floor.” Julianne didn’t have much to say about her brother. Yet. 32/40

Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: The coveted final spot of the night goes to Carlton … er, Alfonso. He is here to lose weight and also to win and both seem possible for the man who invented the Carlton. His fast-paced jazz-age jive was full of attitude and flair and was advanced for this point in the competition. Len declared it the best dance of the night, which it was. They raked in a slough of well-deserved 9s for a total of 36/40

The Results: At the end of the first round of competition, Alfonso, Sadie and Bethany sit at the top of the leaderboad, while Anthony, Betsey and Lolo trail at the back of the pack. Come back tomorrow when the winnowing of the herd commences.

MORE: Dancing With the Stars: Lea Thompson, Michael Waltrip, Alfonso Ribeiro Join Season 19

MORE: Tommy Chong: Dancing With the Stars Isn’t Allowed to Show Pot Leaves or Bongs

TIME celebrities

Kanye West Hits Back Over Wheelchair Gaffe in Epic Rant

Kanye West - The Yeezus Tour BRISBANE
Kanye West performs live at Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia, on Sept. 15, 2014 Bradley Kanaris—Getty Images

And we mean epic

Kanye West has hit back at those who made a big deal of his stopping a concert in Sydney.

At last week’s Sydney show, he castigated two audience members for not standing up and dancing, not realizing that one was wheelchair-bound and the other had a prosthetic limb.

In a disjointed rant on Monday night that knocked everyone from Ben Affleck to Matt Lauer to Whoopi Goldberg, West lashed out at the media for criticizing his behavior, the Daily Beast reports.

The riposte was delivered during his concert in Brisbane, where West is bringing his Australian tour to a close.

“It’s like, ‘Welcome to today’s news, ladies and gentlemen.’ We’ve got Americans getting killed on TV, kids getting killed every weekend in Chicago, unarmed people being killed by police officers,” said West to the Brisbane crowd.

“It makes you just want to reflect on what are the things that are, uh, a little bit more sensationalized.”

Those sensationalized things, he implied, included a big-name rapper mistakenly harassing two disabled concertgoers.

The rest of his address went on in rambling West fashion, with the artist claiming that his music transcended mere news.

“This is real expression. This is real artistry. You know, an artist’s career doesn’t happen in one cycle of news — an artist’s career happens in a lifetime,” he said. “And if you’re a true artist, you’re willing to die for what you believe in,” he continued.

The superstar said he could have tweeted or put out a statement about the wheelchair nonscandal, but chose instead “talk directly” to the audience and “break this s- -t down for real, intelligent people.”

A partial video of the five-minute rant is available on TMZ.

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