Updated: Apr 15
We all have that one uncle. Well… that one too, but this the uncle that always has a piece of wisdom or advice to tell you at every family function. By the time he gets to you, he’s probably had a few drinks in him and all excuses or advances to pull away are being ignored by the strong concerned grip he seems to have on your shoulders. Your eyes search for someone to connect and save you, but all of your family seems to be actively avoiding looking in your direction. After you have exhausted all immediate exits, he has begun his story, and you can do nothing but listen and nod. Now imagine, someone gave that uncle an award, a mic, and a little greenery.
When your listening to the story, your eyes tend to squint, your head tilts a little, and you look to the side so that you can really try and focus on the words, but the only thing that is running through your mind is, “What. the. fuck. is he talking about?” So you just hang your head and wait it out till the story is over. Then you go tell your cousin, for a good laugh, because it is to be expected. And there you have the entire audience’s reaction during Kanye Wests’ VMA’s Video Vanguard Award acceptance speech. (Well, Taylor held a smile for as long as she could during Ye’s silence.) But the biggest similarity with Kanye and your uncle is that one day in the near future, everything he said is going to make complete sense, and you will be stuck in your tracks, dumbfounded.
Kanye’s words are so much stronger when taken out of context. You know why because when Kanye is saying them, he is out of context. In his mind, he is wherever his thoughts are, so you either have to go there with him or sit back confused. Kanye took us from the 2009 VMA’s to the grocery store, to a baseball game, into the future when the stage will be gone, back to the Grammy’s, and finally back to the 2015 VMA’s. Either you hopped on that time travel, or you stayed at the VMA’s. If you ever watch a Kanye interview, you know how to follow him. You know to expect the unexpected, and to strap in, because this is going to be a hell of a ride.
If you haven’t yet, take some time to read the speech, and see if a few things don’t clear up for you.
“Bro. Bro! Listen to the kids.
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… 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 like when I go to a baseball game and 60,000 people boo me. Crosses my mind a little bit. And I think if I had to do it all over again what would I have done? Would I have worn a leather shirt? Would I have drank half a bottle of Hennessy and gave the rest of it to the audience? Ya’ll know ya’ll 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 it’s gonna be a completely different setup. Some concert, something like that. The stage will be gone. After that night, the stage was gone, but the effect that it had on people remained. The … 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 … I sat at the Grammys and saw Justin Timberlake and Cee-Lo lose. Gnarls Barkley and the FutureLove … SexyBack album … and Justin, I ain’t trying to put you on blast, but I saw that man in tears, bro. You know, and I was thinking, like, ’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 s–t they run about beef and all that? Sometimes I feel like I died for the artist’s opinion. For artists to be able to have an opinion after they were successful. I’m not no politician, bro! Look at that. You know how many times MTV ran that footage again? ’Cause it got them more ratings? You know how many times they announced Taylor was going to give me the award ’cause 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 worked their entire life … sold records, sold concert tickets to come stand on the 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, or the biggest video … I’ve been conflicted, bro. I just wanted people to like me more. “But f–k that, bro! 2015! I will die for the art! For what I believe in. And the art ain’t always gonna be polite! Ya’ll might be thinking right now, ’Did he smoke something before he came out here?’ The answer is yes, I rolled up a little something. I knocked the edge off! I don’t know what’s gonna happen tonight, I don’t know what’s gonna happen tomorrow, bro. But all I can say to my artists, to my fellow artists: Just worry how you feel at the time, man. Just worry about how you feel and don’t NEVER … you know what I’m saying? I’m confident. I believe in myself. We the millennials, bro. This is a new mentality. We’re not gonna control our kids with brands. We not gonna teach low self-esteem and hate to our kids. We gonna teach our kids that they can be something. We gonna teach our kids that they can stand up for theyself! We gonna teach our kids to believe in themselves!” If my grandfather was here right now he would not let me back down! I don’t know I’m fittin’ to lose after this. It don’t matter though, cuz 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.”
Still, confused? Let’s schedule some Kanye tutoring sessions.