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Selflessness? Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Kanye West at the VMA's
Posted: 9/14/2009 | Leadership Comments
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I’m sure you have heard about the incident from last nights MTV’s live 2009 Video Music Award’s. Just in case you didn’t, let me fill you in. During Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video, Kanye West came on stage, took the microphone away from her and said, “Taylor, I'm really happy for you, and I'm gonna let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.”

Taylor Swift seemed to try and roll with it, though she did appear to be fairly shocked.  At that moment, the camera cut to Beyonce’s reaction which was also fairly shocked and the show the moved on. Beyonce then went on to win the award for Video of the Year. While receiving this award, Beyonce called upon Swift to come on stage and complete her speech that was cut short due to West’s interruption.


This is an interesting example of the fact that doing what is best for someone else can also be doing what is best for us. Meaning, Beyonce’s act of asking Swift to the stage was a very kind thing to do and benefited the both of them. It’s good for Swift because she had the chance to complete her speech while Beyonce got to show that she was not guilty by association.


Some are calling Beyonce’s act selfless. I’m not sure if selfless is the right word. But her swift (no pun intended) thinking enabled her to not only graciously offer something to a fellow performer but at the same time gave her a great PR moment.


Mother Theresa is a woman who lived a life of selflessness. In that, she was not after anyone noticing her kind acts and if they did notice, it didn’t matter. Her life was unglamorous and simple. A selfless life would be somewhat impractical for those of us who are trying to make a living in a media oriented society.

One way we could be selfless would be to do acts of kindness without our name attached. This was obviously not an option for Beyonce last night since, as it would appear; West attached her name to an incident without her knowledge. Nonetheless, to do a selfless act of kindness is to do an act without wanting or needing acknowledgment or recognition. This isn’t to say that what Beyonce did was not lovely. Whether it was from her Deeper Self or simply from her entrepreneurial skills, either way, it was a great thing to do.


I commend Beyonce and Swift for their maturity in handling this situation, it seems, from their authentic self. As pop culture stars, it is imperative that these performers continue to set a good example for their fans.

Now let me ask you…

How in your life do you think you are selfless?

How in your life do you think you do the right things?

I truly look forward to reading your answers to the questions above.



jp       Posted: 9/18/2009 10:45:50 AM

If I told you how I''m selfless, I don''t think I''d be being selfless, now would I? )

Seriously, I appreciate that you made a clear distinction between selfless and gracious. I myself did not witness the event, but surely got wind of it on Twitter.

With that said, you also mentioned the idea of pop stars setting a good example. Don''t you also think WE could set a good example? To our peers, children, siblings, customers, clients?

Wouldn''t we live in a much better world where we do less judging, and more leading by example. More accepting, than ridiculing?

Even to the point of accepting and understanding those who ridicule.

Thanks for your post Dr. Jennifer. I value your insights. Particularly with something that can so easily be overlooked... you helped to clarify a notion and give us readers a new perspective.

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