There were so many questions after Kanye West debuted the sweaty, aerobicizing video for “Fade” at the 2016 VMAs on Sunday night. Chief among them was why be-thonged star Teyana Taylor goes from flashdancing her way through a work-out routine in a deserted gym to suddenly having a feline face as she leans on her sweaty fiancé (Cleveland Cavs player Iman Shumpert) in a field with a baby surrounded by sheep.
“I think the vision behind that was how amazing Teyana is, and how she’s been on the rise, and how she’s working, and you are now seeing her blossom into this fierce lioness, this fierce cat,” the video’s choreographer, Jae Blaze, told Pitchfork.
“She has worked her way into that, and she’s in a great position right now in her life. She has her family. She’s being held down by her amazing husband. She has a beautiful daughter. You know, the lioness always protects her baby,” Blaze added. “I think it really is about her coming into her fierceness. And that’s where she is in her life right now. She is blossoming.”
Blaze explained that the moves in the video were inspired by a Jamaican dancehall routine called “bruk back,” created by the Outshine Crew, as well as ‘Ye’s suggestions about incorporating some popping and locking into the mix. “The one word I can use for Teyana Taylor right now is ‘superwoman,'” Blaze said. “We had her dancing over and over again, and then if we saw something that she did on camera that was really cool and we wanted it her to repeat it, she would do that. Gave her direction and she made changes quickly. She was just phenomenal to work with, and she knows her stuff. She used so many different elements in her choreography to bring back from the old school to the new school.”
I had the pleasure of artistic directing on #KanyeWest #Fade video with some absolutely brilliant people. It felt amazing to be surrounded by artists who think outside the box! @teyanataylor you did that!! A true talent!!!! Big up to all those who made this an epic video!! It looked phenomenal!! #GodBlessedPickney #BodyGoals!! #Untouchable @elirusselllinnetz @katheffernan @fonzbentley @reneluv