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Kanye West deserved the Video Vanguard Award received Sunday at the MTV Video Music Awards. He has an amazing catalog of visuals for his songs, but his art is not what made a lasting impression on viewers: people are buzzing about his outlandish acceptance speech.
In his 11-minute rant, he rambled about everything from conversations about “fresh orange juice” to smoking something before the show and his shocking plans to run for president in 2020.
Below, see the 11 craziest quotes from his speech:
11. “Bro! Bro! Listen to the kids!”
When Kanye opened his speech making a reference to “Bro,” we honestly didn’t know who he was speaking to. Was he referring to a biological sibling or an in-law? We were at a loss. Who is this “Bro” he awkward referred to throughout his speech?
10. “If I had a daughter at that time, would I have went onstage and grabbed the mic from someone else’s?”
We sat on the edge of our seats, hoping that Kanye would just say “I’m sorry” for taking the mic out of Taylor’s hands during the 2009 VMAs. But this is the closest to an apology that we would get, and it appears that if given the opportunity, he would do it again.
9. “I feel like I died for the artist’s opinion, for the artist to be able to have an opinion after they were successful.”
Kanye has indeed received a lot of flack for speaking his mind in the most inappropriate ways. But to imply that he “died for the artist’s opinion” is a gross exaggeration. Aside from getting select boos at events, his career has not suffered. He continues to be one of the most prominent and successful artists of this era.
8. “I still don’t understand awards shows. I don’t understand how they get five people who work their entire life, one that sold records, sold concert tickets, to come, stand on a carpet, and for the first time in their life be judged on a chopping block and have the opportunity to be considered a loser.”
Placing an emphasis on being “considered a loser” is another exaggeration. The music business and every other business is shaped around a hierarchy. Everyone can’t sell the most records, can’t be No. 1, or play the largest venues. It really is an honor to be one of the artists nominated for an award. To be considered among the artists who made the biggest impact during a given year is an accomplishment. Being a sore loser is something contenders should avoid.
7. “I will die for the arts, for what I believe in, and the art ain’t always going to be polite.”
We actually believe Kanye’s deep passion and commitment to his art and appreciate his brutal honestly. It does not always have to be polite, but some tact would be good.
6. “We the millennials, Bro.”
“We”? No, Kanye. You were born in 1977. You are 38 years old. You are not a millennial.
5. “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 the award because it got them more ratings?”
Yes, we know that MTV exploited the fact that you dissed Taylor Swift at the VMAs in 2009 and that after all these years they would be reuniting you on their stage? While we are generally not fans of sensationalism, we can’t blame MTV for promoting this. And if there is anyone to blame, it would be you. You were the one who walked on the stage unannounced and interrupted the broadcast.
4. “You might be thinking right now, I wonder, did he smoke some before he came out here? The answer is yes, I rolled up a little something, I knocked the edge off.”
We knew it! We knew it! We knew it!
3. “I didn’t know how to say the right thing.”
This is the biggest understatement of all time.
2. “You know, I think about when I'm in the grocery store with my daughter, and I have really great conversation about fresh juice…”
We get that this was a lead up to your explanation about the backlash you continue to receive about the Taylor incident. But the reference to having a “really great conversation about fresh juice” just sounds so funny.
1. “And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”
This declaration is far more outlandish than we could have ever imagined. We have just one request: Can you please pick Deez Nuts – the 15-year-old kid from Iowa who is running for president – as your running mate? He will be 20 by then.