kanye west's 'fade' video was inspired by grace jones and horror films, says director

The Teyana Taylor-starring spectacle also draws from Pornhub, 'Dancing With the Stars,' and the album covers of 70s funk band Ohio Players.

by Hannah Ongley
01 September 2016, 5:05pm

While Kanye West's use of his four minutes of allocated VMA rant time was (relatively) restrained, the music video that he premiered immediately afterwards was anything but. The steamy visual for "Fade" — Kanye's Ty Dolla $ign and Post Malone-featuring homage to Chicago house music — starred Teyana Taylor in a dance routine ostensibly inspired by Flashdance and Teyana's relationship with financé Iman Shumpert. The video's director, 24-year-old Eli Russell Linnetz, recently spoke to the New York Times about some of his and Kanye's other reference points. Among them: the album covers of 70s funk band Ohio Players, the lustrous skin of 70s and 80s porn stars, the masterful sci-fi horror films of John Carpenter, the Olympics, the N.B.A., and even Dancing with the Stars. One of the more identifiable references is Jean-Paul Goude's boxing photographs of Jamaican disco queen Grace Jones. 

"Flashdance is just so iconic that it's hard to move away from that, but the Ohio Players' album covers were our starting point," Eli says. "Some people picked up on the Grace Jones boxing images by Jean-Paul Goude. I pulled a lot of references from '70s and '80s porn, just on Pornhub. That was less about the imagery and more about the texture of the skin, the oiliness. There's John Carpenter films, The Fly. There's also things like Dancing With the Stars, the Olympics and the N.B.A. championship." 

This isn't the first time Kanye has taken inspiration from Jones and the famed, oft controversial photographer who was also her former parter. In 2010 Kanye launched his website with photos of then-girlfriend Amber Rose in the model-turned musician's iconic poses. In 2014, Goude's internet-breaking Paper cover of Kanye's now-wife Kim Kardashian was based on the photographer's original 1976 portrait of Carolina Beaumont. Apparently Jones has historically not been thrilled by Ye's repeat referencing of her vintage photos — but honestly, that's probably part of the reason he keeps doing it. 


Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Tidal

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