MTV VMAs 2016: 5 Key Moments From Kanye West Speech
Kanye West had himself a night at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards last night. He performed his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy song with Pusha T "Runaway," premiered a brand new video for his The Life Of Pablo song "Fade" and was boldly given four minutes to say whatever he felt like at the podium. During his VMAs speech, Kanye West first announced that he was about to premiere a new music video and then touched on a variety of topics like gun violence, politics, Beyoncé and more.
1. Gun Violence - The speech veered and lurches like one might expect from a Kanye West speech, but it did settle on an important point about gun violence in Chicago. He noted that last week 22 people died and then spoke about an example of a kid at the Art Institute who was on the verge of giving up because his three friends had been killed. It was a poignant reminder that life can end in a moment and to make the most of it, while to also battle the scourge of gun violence.
2. Famous Exes - He shouts out famous Kimye exes as gets warmed up. Taking a pause he sees Amber Rose in the crowd and says, "I see you Amber," noting that his wife is a G for working with him through it. He also called out one of Kim's exes, Ray J, who probably wasn't in the building, noting he put him in the video, referring to "Famous."
3. Losing to Beyoncé - Kanye and Beyoncé well-known history at the VMAs goes back a while, notably with Taylor Swift involved. He trumpets her wining at all award shows and said he might lose to Beyoncé later and wouldn't even be mad about it. That is some rare humility from West.
4. Taylor Swift - It was only a brief mention, but on the VMAs stage it was noteworthy. They reportedly fell out again over the "Famous" line, but have patched it together. "Like people come to me like 'damn, that's right, take Taylor,' like bro, I love all y'all. That's why I called her," said Kanye.
5. Role models - Something that Kanye has talked about a lot in the past has been his admiration for others who have influenced him. He lists off the people who he considers to be role models. "My role models are artists merchants, less than 10 that I can name in history: Truman, Ford, Hughes, Disney, Jobs, West." After he then goes on to name a few people who he thinks who are the future like Jaden Smith, Chance The Rapper and 2 Chainz.
Find the full speech transcript below and watch the speech in its entirety.
"I am Kanye West. And that feels really great to say especially this year. I came here to present my new video. But before I do that, Imma talk.
Now, later tonight, 'Famous' might lose to Beyonce but I can't be mad, I'm always wishing for Beyonce to win. But for people to understand, just how blessed we are, it was an expression of our now, our fame right now, us on the inside of the TV. You know, just the audacity to put Anna Wintour right next to Donald Trump. I put Ray J in it bro. This is fame, bro.
I see you Amber.
My wife is a G, not a lot of people wise to what I'm saying. We came over in the same boat and now we all in the same bed. Well maybe different boats but uh, you know. If you think about last week, there was 22 people murdered in Chicago.
Like people come to me like 'damn, that's right, take Taylor,' like bro, 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 he said, 'three of my friends died and I don't know if I'm going to be the next.' You have to think, like, you know when you're a senior and it's the last month and you just don't feel like doing anymore work. If you feel like you're seeing people dying right next to you, you might feel like, what's the point?
Like life might be starting to feel worthless in a way. I know times for me, I sit down and talk to older rich people, you know, aka white. they tell me don't compare yourself to Steve Jobs, don't compare yourself to Walt Disney. My friend Zakaya told me, there's three keys to keeping people impoverished, that's taking away their esteem, taking away their resources, and taking away their role models. My role models are artists merchants, less than 10 that I can name in history: Truman, Ford, Hughes, Disney, Jobs, West.
Broooooooooo, tonight we are 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, Chainz, Jaden Smith, bro, we are undeniably the influence, the thought leaders. I'm going to play y'all a piece of my art. And I just hope you all have a good time. Play that."