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Kanye West Explains Tree Photo Used for 2013 MTV Video Music Awards Performance

Apparently, Kanye West‘s performance of ‘Blood on the Leaves’ at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards left viewers scratching their heads. Many were asking why there was a photo of a tree behind him? Well, Yeezy answers your question today.

Yeezy posted a photo of the tree on his official website Monday (Aug. 26) — the image was the main background during his performance.

The photograph (see below) was taken by British filmmaker Steve McQueen and it’s titled “Lynching Tree.” Located somewhere in New Orleans, the tree once served as a place to hang slaves and a burial ground for the lynched victims.

The picture currently hangs at the Schaulager exhibition in Basel, Switzerland.

The photograph was the perfect set piece for ‘Blood on the Leaves’ as it matches the sample of Nina Simone’s cover of Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit,’ which is a somber tune about slavery and lynching.

In addition, director Steve McQueen is set to release a movie titled ‘12 Years a Slave,’ which is based on an 1853 autobiography of the same name about Solomon Northup, a freed man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. The film will arrive in theaters Oct. 18.

Hopefully, this answers any questions about Kanye West’s shadowy performance at the VMAs.

Lynching Tree

Next: Check Our Recaps of the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards

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