In case you missed it, Kanye West received the Video Vanguard Award at the 2015 MTV VMAs and was presented the award by Taylor Swift. Courtesy of Complex, you can read the entire transcript of his acceptance speech below.
“Bro, bro, listen to the kids. Jeremy, I gotta put it down for a second. First of all, thank you Taylor for being so gracious and giving me this award this evening. Thank you. And I often think back to the first day I met you also. I think about when I’m in the grocery store with my daughter and I have a really great conversation about fresh juice at the… you know. 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 when I go to a baseball game and 60,000 people boo me. It 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 half a bottle of Hennessy and given the rest of it to the audience? Y’all know you 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 is gonna be a completely different set up—some concert… This stage will be gone. After that night, the stage was gone but the effect that it had on people remained.
The problem was the contradiction. The contradiction is that I do fight for artists but in that fight, somehow, was disrespectful to artists. I didn’t know how to say the right thing, the perfect thing, I sat at the Grammys and saw Justin Timberlake and CeeLo Green lose. Gnarls Barkley and the [FutureSex/LoveSound] album, and bro, Justin I’m not trying to put you on blast but I saw that man in tears, bro. And I was thinking he deserved to win album of the year. And the small box that we are of entertainers of the evening, how could you explain that?
Sometimes I feel like you know all this shit they run about beef and all that, sometimes I feel like I died for the artist’s opinion, for the artist to have an opinion after they got successful. I’m not no politician bro, and look at that. You know how many times MTV ran that footage again? Because it got more ratings? Do you know how many times they announced Taylor was gonna give me this award? Because it got more ratings?
Listen to the kids, bro.
I still don’t understand award shows. I don’t understand how they get five people who work their entire life one 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 have the opportunity to be considered a loser. I don’t understand it bro. I do not understand when the biggest album or the biggest video I don’t understand. I’ve been conflicted bro. I just wanted people to like me more. But fuck that, bro. 2015. I will die for the art for what I believe in and the art ain’t always gonna be polite. Y’all might be thinking right now, “I wonder did he smoke something before he came out here?” And the answer is yes, I rolled up a little something, I knocked the edge off. I don’t know what’s gonna happen tonight what’s gonna happen tomorrow bro but all I can say to my artists is just worry about how you feel at the time. I’m confident I believe in myself. We the millenials bro. This is a new mentality. We’re not gonna control our kids with brands. We’re not gonna tech low self esteem and hate to our kids. We’re gonna teach our kids that they can be something. that they can stand up for themselves. To believe in themselves and if my grandfather was here right now, he would not let me back down.
I don’t know what I’m finna lose after this it don’t matter though because it ain’t about me, it’s about new ideas bro people with ideas people who believe in truth. and yes, as you probably could’ve guessed by this moment I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”