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Darrell Huckaby - 09/16/09

Barack Obama and I finally agree on something. Kanye West is a jackass.

Now the president's remarks were supposed to be "off the record," but got tweeted to a waiting world before that disclaimer was made clear. Mine are on the record and I don't care who knows what I think of Kanye West.

In case you missed the furor, here's what happened.

Kanye is a hip hop artist - or maybe a rapper - or maybe both. He is also a record producer, an author of sorts, a singer, a self-proclaimed history buff and ... well, a jackass, according to no less an authority than the president of the United States.

West, who is 32 and old enough to know better, has been embroiled in controversy for most of his career. He is a Southerner by birth, although you would never guess it judging by his lack of manners. He was born in Atlanta to a father who was once a photojournalist for the AJC and is now a Christian counselor and a mother who, at the time of West's birth, was an English professor at Clark Atlanta.

Bet you never thought you'd learn this stuff from my column when you woke up this morning, did you?

West is the person, you might recall, that during a televised Hurricane Katrina benefit, grabbed the microphone and proclaimed to the world that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." A couple of years later he stormed the stage during the MTV Europe Awards ceremony claiming that he, and not the actual recipients of the award, deserved to win the prize for the best video of 2006.

I wonder how that would work in the world of sports? I can just see Peyton Manning running onto the field and trying to wrestle the Lombardi Trophy out of brother Eli's hands after next year's Super Bowl game. Hey, maybe Bobby Cox could finally get another World Series trophy that way.

I'm just sayin'.

Kanye even managed to tick Evel Knievel off by dressing up like the infamous daredevil and attempting to fly a rocket over a canyon. Knieval sued West and won an injunction to stop the release of the video.

You see, Kanye West has been no stranger to controversy.

Enter Taylor Swift.

Taylor is a 19-year-old country music singer from Wyomissing, Penn.

Yeah, I know. We don't see many country singers from Pennsylvania, but that's where the child was born. She got her start in music by sinking karaoke at fairs and festivals around her home town and when she was 14 moved with her family to Nashville to pursue her dream of becoming a country star.

Her dream began to become a reality when her first single, "Tim McGraw" reached No. 6 on the Billboard Charts. Her star has been on the rise ever since, and just this week she received an MTV award for Best Female Video. And while she was making her acceptance speech Kanye West leaped onto the stage, grabbed the microphone from Miss Swift's hand and began berating the voters for not giving that particular award to his friend Beyonce.

It beat all I have ever seen.

No, I wasn't watching the MTV Awards Sunday night. I was still trying to recover from Saturday night's football marathon and wasn't watching anything, but I saw the replay. We are in the You-Tube Age, y'all. You can see anything at any time if you have the Internet.

As you can imagine, Taylor Swift was devastating by this outrageous ambush. I am quite certain that plenty of tears were shed and she immediately left the stage. Later in the show, they tell me, Beyonce, after winning the award for best overall video, called the humiliated young singer back onstage to complete her remarks, which was a very gracious act but could not undo what West had done.

And the nation has been outraged ever since.

Jay Leno called West out on his new comedy/variety show Monday night and asked, "What would your mother say if she were alive?"

You can always get to a Southern boy by asking him about his dead mama.

Not a single person has come to the defense of Kanye for his boorish behavior; not even Serena Williams nor South Carolina congressman Joe Wilson. In fact, Williams and Wilson are probably thankful that the hip-hop star is taking a little heat off them. They didn't have the best of weeks, either.

All I can say is Kanye West had better be thankful he pulled his little stunt at the MTV Awards in New York City. He might get away with that stuff up there, but he'd better stay away from the award shows that are held in Nashville, Tenn. I know some old boys up there that would have made him wish he'd never heard of hip or hop - and they would have been swift about it, too.

And, as I indicated, even the president of the United States expressed an opinion about the situation - and it's the same as mine.

Now if Barack and I can get together on health care, personal liberty and taxes, we'll really be doing something.

I'm not holding my breath, though. I am afraid Kanye West will become a member of the Grand Ole Opry before that happens.

Darrell Huckaby