Kanye West accepted the video Vanguard Award, the equivalent of MTV’s Lifetime Achievement Award, at the Video Music Awards Sunday evening in a rambling, 13-minute speech which covered an array of topics ranging from Taylor Swift to a proposal to run for president.
When West took the VMA stage, the musician revealed he still thinks about the time when he interrupted Taylor Swift’s speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards for winning Best Female Video.
He also took a jab at MTV for being a ratings mongrel, and slammed the press for making news of petty “beef” between celebrities.
Though getting an award at the VMAs, West said he didn’t really understand awards shows because although there are certainly winners, it also forces there to be losers.
And, to top it all off, West announced in 2020 he’ll run for president.
You can read the full speech below:
First of all, thank you Taylor for being so gracious and giving me this award this evening. And, I often think back to the first day I met you also. Ya know, I think about when I’m in the grocery store with my daughter and I have a really great conversation about fresh juice at … and at the end they say, ‘Oh, you’re not that bad after all.’ And like.. I think about it sometimes … it crosses my mind a little bit like when I go to a baseball game and 60,000 people boo me. Crosses my mind a little bit.
… And I think if I had to do it all again, what would I have done? Would I have worn a leather shirt? Would I have drank a half a bottle of Hennessy and gave the rest of it to the audience? Ya’ll know ya’ll drank that bottle too. If I had a daughter at that time would I have went on stage and grabbed the mic from someone else’s?
You know, this arena, tomorrow, it’s gonna be a completely different setup. Some concert, something like that. This stage will be gone. After that night, the stage is gone, but the effect that it had on people, remain.
The problem was the contradiction. The contradiction is I do fight for artists. But in that fight I somehow was disrespectful to artists. I didn’t know how to say the right thing … the perfect thing. I just sat at the Grammys and saw Justin Timberlake and Cee-Lo lose. Gnarls Barkley and the Sexyback album, and bro, Justin I ain’t trying to put you on blast, but I saw that man in tears, bro. Ya know? And, I was thinking, he deserved to win album of the year. And the small box that we are, as the entertainers of the evening, how could you explain that?
Sometimes I feel like you know all this s — they run about beef and all that? Sometimes I feel like I died for the artist’s opinion … for an artist to have an opinion after they were successful. I’m not no politician, bro. And look at that! You know how many times MTV ran that footage again, ’cause it got them more ratings? You know how many times they announced Taylor was going to give me the award because it got them more ratings?
Listen to the kids bro.
I still don’t understand Awards shows. I don’t understand how they get five people who work their entire life … sell records, sell concert tickets to come, stand on a carpet, and for the first time in they life, be judged on a chopping block, and be considered a loser. I don’t understand it, bro. I don’t understand when the biggest album or the biggest video or … I still don’t un… I’ve been conflicted, bro. I just wanted people to like me more. But f — that, bro. Two thousand and fifteen. I will die for the art, for what I believe in. And the art ain’t always going [to] be polite.
Ya’ll might be thinking right now, ‘I wonder, did he smoke something before he came out here?’ The answer is ‘Yes.’ I rode up a little something. I knocked the edge off.
I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, bro. But all I can say to my artists, my fellow artists, just worry how you feel at the time, man. Just worry about how you feel. And don’t never, you know what I’m saying? I’m confident. I believe in myself. We the millennials, bro. This is a new, this is a new mentality.
We’re not gonna control our kids with brands. We not gonna teach low self-esteem and hate to our kids. We gonna teach our kids that they can be something. We gonna teach our kids that they can stand up for theyself. We gonna teach our kids to believe in themselves. If my grandfather was here right now, he would not let me back down. I don’t know what I fear to lose after this. It don’t matter, though, cause it ain’t about me. It’s about ideas, bro. New ideas. People with ideas. People who believe in truth. And, yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.
Watch the full 13 minute video below via MTV:
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