By Eric Renner Brown and Christopher Rosen
August 26, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Kanye West was given carte blanche by MTV on Sunday night at the Video Music Awards, and used his time to comment on his “Famous” video, the controversy around the song and Taylor Swift, his role models, and gun violence in Chicago.

West was ostensibly there to debut his new video for the Life of Pablo track “Fade,” but he used his time on the VMAs stage to give a passionate, wide-ranging speech.

“I am Kanye West,” the 39-year-old began, “and it feels really good to say especially this year.”

Read the full speech below.

“Now, later tonight, ‘Famous’ might lose to Beyoncé but I can’t be mad. I’m always wishing for Beyoncé to win so… for people to understand just how blessed we are, [‘Famous’] was an expression of our now, our fame right now, us on the inside of the TV. You know, just to put… the audacity to put Anna Wintour right next to Donald Trump. I mean, I put Ray J in there bro! This is fame, bro! Like, I see you Amber… my wife is a G…

“We came over in the same boat, now we’re all in the same bed. Well, maybe different boats, but… If you think about last week, there was 22 people murdered in Chicago. You know, like, people come up to me like, ‘Man, that’s right, tell Taylor that…’ Bro, like, I love all y’all. That’s why I called her.

“So I was speaking at the Art Institute last year and one kid came up to me and said three of my friends died and i don’t know if I’m going to be next. You have to think, when you’re a senior, and you don’t feel like doing any more work. If you’re seeing people dying next to you you might think, what’s the point? Life can start to feel worthless in a way. I know times for me, I sit down and talk to older, like, like, rich people, you know? A.K.A. White. And, uh, they tell me don’t compare yourself to Steve Jobs. Don’t compare yourself to Walt Disney. And my friend [J. Sakiya Sandifer], tells me, don’t compare yourself to these people. My friend [J. Sakiya Sandifer] told me there’s three keys to keeping people impoverished: taking away their esteem, their resources, and their role models. My role models are artists, merchants. There’s less than 10 I can name in history: Truman, Ford, Hughes, Disney, Jobs, West.

“Tonight, we’re here to have fun. I’m standing in front of my idol Puff Daddy. I’m standing in front of my wife Kim Kardashian West. I’m standing in front of the future, Chance the Rapper. 2 Chainz. Jayden Smith. Bro. We are undeniably the influence, the thought leaders. I’m gonna play y’all a piece of my art. And I just hope you all have a good time.”

On Sunday, West’s controversial video for “Famous,” off his February album The Life of Pablo, was up for two major awards: Video of the Year and Best Male Video. (West lost in that latter category to Calvin Harris.) His wife Kim Kardashian was also a presenter at this year’s installment of the VMAs, set to introduce Britney Spears.

West, of course, has a storied history with the VMAs. The awards show is where he famously interrupted Taylor Swift during an acceptance speech in 2009 and where, in a scattered speech, he declared last year that he planned to run for president in 2020.

Advertisement

Comments

EDIT POST