Kanye West addressed the fall-out from his controversial ‘Famous’ video during a lengthy speech at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards in New York City.
Taking to the stage at Madison Square Garden, there was speculation that West would perform – a few days before the ceremony, MTV permitted the rapper four minutes of air time “to do with as he pleases”.
However, the rapper instead took the opportunity to present the video for his single ‘Fade’ (which is streaming exclusively on Tidal now), off the recently-released ‘Life of Pablo’ album.
In the preamble to the video’s premiere, West took to the microphone to address a number of topics, including the fall-out from his controversial ‘Famous’ video, his continuing admiration of Steve Jobs, and giving props to “the future”, referring explicitly to Chance The Rapper, 2 Chainz and Jaden Smith.
“I am Kanye West. And that feels really great to say, especially this year,” West began. “I came here to present my new video. But before I do that, Imma talk.”
He firstly addressed the concept of the ‘Famous’ video, which depicted such renowned figures as Donald Trump, Anna Wintour and, most controversially, Taylor Swift, lying in bed together naked.
“Now, later tonight ‘Famous’ might lose to Beyoncé [which it did, to ‘Formation’ in the Video of the Year award] but I can’t be mad because I’m always wishing for Beyoncé to win,” West said. “It 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 next to Donald Trump. I mean, I put Ray-J in there. This is fame, bro. Like — I see you, Amber [Rose, who was also depicted in the video]. My wife is a G — not a lot of people’s wives would say let them say that right there. We came over in the same boat, now we all in the same bed. Well, maybe different boats, but…”
But instead of taking the chance to comment further on his fall-out with Swift, West pointed to more important matters in the world.
“But if you think about last week, it was 22 people murdered in Chicago. You know, like people come up to me like man, that’s right, [tell] Taylor this. Like bro, I love all y’all. That’s why I called her.”
He then criticised “older, rich people – y’know, AKA white [people]” for dismissing his self-comparisons to the likes of Steve Jobs and Walt Disney.
“They tell me, don’t compare yourself to Steve Jobs, don’t compare yourself to Walt Disney… They tell me, don’t compare yourself to these people, right. My friend told me there’s three keys to keeping people impoverished: taking away their esteem, taking away their resources and taking away their role models. My role models are artists/merchants. There’s less than ten that I can name in history: Truman, Ford, Hughes, Disney, Jobs, West.”
Finally, West gave his blessing to “the future”, referring to Chance The Rapper, 2 Chainz and Jaden Smith, who were all in attendance at the ceremony.
“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, 2 Chainz, Jaden Smith. Like, bro, we are undeniably the influence, the thought leaders.”
Watch the full speech below, and check out the full list of winners from last night’s VMAs here.
— MTV (@MTV) August 29, 2016