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Contrary to popular belief, there’s usually a method to Kanye West‘s madness. Following his performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, many questioned why a photo of a tree was the background image as the sounds of “Blood On the Leaves” echoed into the crowd.

Like always, the G.O.O.D. Music founder used his website ( to clear the ambiguity. The picture was taken by London-born director and photographer, Steve McQueen, and is titled “Lynching Tree.” Premiered at the Schaulager exhibition in Basel, the still shot captures a tree near New Orleans once used to hang Blacks.

The lynched are buried in the ground surrounding the tree. Does Yeezy’s performance make a lot more sense now?

Additionally, the aforementioned filmmaker will debut 12 Years A Slave, the film adaptation to an 1853 autobiography of the same name about Solomon Northup. Hit the jump for a better look at McQueen’s historical piece and West’s message.

Photo: Instagram

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