The rapper ended his Video Vanguard Award acceptance speech by making an unexpected announcement to the audience
by Nolan Feeney (time.com, August 30, 2015)
If you thought Taylor Swift presenting Kanye West with the Video Vanguard Award would be the strangest part of the night given their history, you were wrong: West stole the show at a ceremony that already had plenty of show-stealing moments by delivering a long, seemingly improvised speech in which he ended by joking — we think? — that he would be running for president in 2020.Here’s a rough transcript of his speech, which may have some errors:
«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.
You know, I think about when I’m in the grocery store with my daughter and I have a really great conversation about fresh juice, 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. I think if I had to do it all again, I think, what would I have done? Would I have worn a leather shirt? Would I have drank that half a bottle of Hennessy and gave the rest to the audience? If I had a daughter at the time, would I have went onstage and grabbed the mic from someone else’s.
You know, this arena, tomorrow it’s going to be a different set-up. Some concert, something like that. This stage will be gone. After that night, the stage was gone. But the affect that it had on people remained.
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 at the Grammys lose. Gnarls Barkley and FutureSexLoveSounds, the “SexyBack” album. And Justin, I ain’t trying to put you on blast, but I saw that man in tears, you know? And I was thinking, he deserved to win album of the year!
And this small box that we are as the entertainers of the evening, how could you explain that? Sometimes I feel like all this shit they run about beef and all that, sometimes I think I died for the artists’ opinion, for an artist to be able to have an opinion after they were successful.
I’m not no politician, bro! And look at that. Do you know how many times MTV ran that footage again? Because it got them more ratings. Do you know how many times they announced Taylor was going to give me that 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, one, sold records, sold concert tickets, to come on a carpet, and for the first time in they life, be judged on the chopping block and have the opportunity to be considered a loser!
I don’t understand it, bruh! I don’t understand when the biggest album, when the biggest video…I’ve been conflicted bro. I just wanted people to like me more! But fuck it, bro! 2015! I will die for the art! For what I believe in! And the art ain’t always going to be polite! Y’all might be thinking right now, did he smoke something before he came out here? The answer is yes, I rolled up a lil something to knock 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. Just worry about how you feel and don’t never, you know what I’m saying…I’m confident. I believe in myself. We are the millennials, bro! This is a new mentality, we aren’t going to control our kids with brands, we aren’t going to teach low self-esteem and hate to our kids. We’re going to teach our kids that they can be something. We’re going to teach our kids that they can stand up for themselves. We’re going to teach our kids they can believe in themselves.
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 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».