If you were watching the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28th you caught the exclusive premiere of Kanye West‘s “Fade” video. If you did not, then your catching today’s slightly NSFW visuals for the very first time!
Teyana Taylor, a “wife, mother, singer, dance, actor, and all that other good stuff” as described on her Twitter bio, is featured in the Kanye video doing some red hot choreography. We can’t help but get some major Flashdance vibes from the solo choreo…anyone else??
Wondering how Teyana got the roll in Kanye’s latest video? She sat down with Vogue to discuss just that:
How did you become the star of this video?
It was actually crazy because I was in the studio recording and Kanye came by to the other studio next door to record and asked me to come over real quick. And he was like, “Yo, you killed the Lil’ Kim tribute.” And we talked about that a little bit and then I don’t know how we got into a conversation about me and Iman. We just started talking and I was just rambling and rambling about Iman and to him it was a dope moment to just see love like that, to see that you can really have it all. Even with him, his relationship with Kim is so dope. They have kids, they’re married, they have a friendship. Even Kanye having kids has changed him a lot. He was like, “Dang, you’re singing. Your husband just won a championship. You just had Junie.” I think that really inspired him for the video. Literally when I left the studio and went back to my recording room, [a head representative from G.O.O.D. Music] came up to me and said Kanye wanted me to dance to one of his songs—for “Fade.” I was like, “Oh my god, you’re lying.”
How did the concept for the video come about?
When they first reached out about the video, all I knew was that he wanted me to dance. At that point he didn’t have to tell me twice. Our music studio has this room for office storage and so I went in there and I played the song in this room super loud and I’m already dancing and rehearsing. I didn’t even know what the treatment was but I recorded that rehearsal and sent them the video. We later all had a meeting and went over different ideas and the inspiration for the video.
By the way, the dance scene at the very, very end, maybe the last eight counts that I did; me and one of my homeboys Matthew Pasterisa actually made that choreography for Beyoncé for when the “End of Time” came out. She loved it but she wound up not being able to use it because she was pregnant, but back then the world didn’t know. All this time that choreography was just sitting there. And as soon as I was freestyling it just came out naturally.
Did you come up with all the choreography for the video?
Yes, I did the choreography. But my boy Guapo was a big inspiration to me; he helped me a lot. And then my homeboy Matthew, he co-choreographed that ending part I was just talking about. Big shout-out to both of them. The moment I found out I was in Kanye’s video, Guapo was the first person I got on the phone with. He was like, “T, you got this.”
Was Kanye on set for when you filmed it?
He was on set the whole time.
What would he say on set?
“Iconic. Iconic. This is going to be so crazy.” When I had that cat face on . . .
Yes! Please, let’s talk about the cat face at the end.
Let’s talk about these sheep first, though. They were shitting all over the place—there was poop everywhere! And then little Junie is just so fearless; she’s playing with the sheep. I was just looking at Ye, like Yo, I don’t know what you got going on, but I know it’s going to be good. Because you know with Ye, you just gotta trust him. He’s a genius and you know he just got something up his sleeve.
We filmed that cat scene first. We didn’t shoot the video in order. I was in three hours of makeup and prosthetics to get that thing on my face. The director Eli [Linnetz], he wanted it to be a little bit sexy, so I drew my own brows on the cat face.
So Kanye gave no explanation for the cat face.
Yeah, he was just like, I’m going to put you in this cat face. It’s going to be chic. At the same time, being an actor, I love doing stuff like that—to be able to get dressed up and get out of my comfort zone. I was very excited to do something different and artistic, but since we shot backwards, at first, I didn’t know what was going on. I thought, This crazy mother-effer. He’s got 15 sheep in this gym right now, with poop all over the place. It’s crazy the thing that happens behind the scenes; my wig almost flew off. It’s just so dope to watch the final product and know all the things that went into it. From the bottom of the heart this meant so much to me.
And no explanation for the sheep either?
It was definitely something deep. The whole video is deeper than people probably processed it. So I feel like it’s up for the people to figure it out. I get it, but I want them to really figure it out and really understand what’s going on. And for them to understand, they’re going to have to watch it 20, and 30, and 40 times.
Read the full interview here