Yesha Callahan

5 Things We Learned From Kanye West’s VMA Speech


In one of the most talked about moments of Sunday’s VMAs, Kanye West took the stage to accept his Video Vanguard Award with an epic 12 minute speech that set social media on fire.

During the rambling monologue that had almost everyone (except Jaden Smith) scratching their heads, Kanye talked about his role as an artist, gave “the kids” props, and (jokingly?) announced he was running for president in 2020.

So what did we learn from Ye’s VMA speech? Glad you asked.

#1 The kids have the answers, Sway.


“ Bro. Bro. Listen to the kids….”

In Yeezy’s now-infamous interview on Sway in the Morning, West famously told the radio host he didn’t have the answers. But according to Ye’s VMA speech, we should all be listening to the kids.

#2 He’s still not over that whole Taylor Swift thing.


“First of all, thank you Taylor for being so gracious and giving me this award this evening. I often think back to the first day I met you, also. 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.” It crosses my mind a little bit when I go to a baseball game and 60,000 people boo me; crosses my mind a little bit. If I had to do it all again, what would I have done? Would I have worn a leather shirt? Would I have drank a half a bottle of Hennessey and gave the rest of it to the audience? Y’all know you drank that bottle too. If I had a daughter at that time, would I have went onstage and grabbed the mic from someone else?”

I get it, after interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 VMA’s Kanye became sort of a villain. After all, he spoiled the moment of America’s sweetheart with his drunken rant. But it’s been six years, and apparently Ye (and MTV) hasn’t gotten over it yet. Swift was the one to present the rapper with his Video Vanguard Award, and he spent a considerable amount of his 12 minute speech recounting the incident. Things got so weird that I almost wished someone rushed the stage and said, “Kanye…I’ma let you finish, but this speech way too long, bro.”

#3 Justin Timberlake cried after he lost at the Grammys.


“I sat at the Grammys and saw Justin Timberlake and Cee Lo lose; Gnarls Barkley and the FutureSex/LoveSounds album. I ain’t trying to put you on blast, but I saw that man in tears.”

Umm…way to put your friend on blast, Ye.

#4 He doesn’t understand how award shows work, but he’ll die for his art. Also? He still wants awards.


“I still don’t understand award shows. I don’t understand how they get five people who work their entire life, won, sell records, sell concert tickets, to come, stand on a carpet and for the first time in their life, be judged on the chopping block and have the opportunity to be considered a loser. I don’t understand it, bro! I’ve been conflicted. I just wanted people to like me more. But fuck that, bro! 2015. I will die for the art — for what I believe in — and the art ain’t always gonna be polite.”

Kanye has often spoken about the industry not recognizing his genius and giving him sufficient props, but according to his epic speech, he couldn’t care less now. Despite winning multiple awards in the past, West said he doesn’t understand how, or why, award shows decide on who’ll take home trophies. Looks like it doesn’t matter anymore, though. Kanye wants the powers to be to know that he’s not afraid to push the envelope and die for his art if necessary. I guess designing $120 plain white tees is risky business.

#5 Kanye West doesn’t know what a millennial is, but he’s totally one anyway.


“I’m confident. I believe in myself. We the millenials, bruh. This is a new mentality.”

Kanye West was born in 1977. He’s clearly not a millennial, but that didn’t stop Yeezy from claiming to be down with the crew, or just changing the definition of millennial to fit his needs. Whatever works.

Missed any part of Kanye’s VMA speech? Watch it below.

  1. August 31, 2015 - Reply

    I didn’t watch the VMAs, but watching this clip… So Kanye stood up there and gave an impromptu TED speech, huh? I will say this though. I understand where he’s coming from about not understanding awards shows. I don’t either. For the “accolades” to be decided by a handful of mostly old white dudes and some little trophy all of a sudden becomes the defining measure of whether or not your album was successful. What kinda sense does that make? You could have a year where a dozen folks put their sweat & tears into their work, but then be called “losers” based on not “winning” some award even though they sold millions, made billions, and got folks around the world singing their song in a language that half of them don’t even speak. How did these awards panels get so much power? And now you got awards shows starting twitter wars and such. I just don’t get it & I don’t support it.

    • August 31, 2015 - Reply


      It was TED talk indeed. In the worst way.

    • August 31, 2015 - Reply


      lol at TED talk

    • October 7, 2015 - Reply


      I like you, Me! LOL

  2. August 31, 2015 - Reply

    Kanye please seek help before it’s too late. Your tantrums are getting ridiculous now.

    • August 31, 2015 - Reply


      Too late

  3. August 31, 2015 - Reply

    There are massive contradictions in society. Many awards shows claim to raise cutting edge artists, but award decisions are made by mostly older, white males (and many talented, independent artists are readily ignored by these award shows). Kanye West’s speech is a reflection of his views and they represent the confusion and the angst found in many younger folks (including a,ong himself). Many younger folks are confused on acceptance and finding value in themselves. What I take from Kanye West’s monologue is that our value as black people can never be found in an awards show. It has to be found in ourselves, in our families, and in our communities. Kanye West has to realize that his musical value or his humanity in general can never be validated by how many awards he has won. We should define ourselves and never allow various awards shows define us. I see Kanye’s speech as a combination of hurt, confusion, angst, and some truth (since not everything that he said was false). If Kanye West runs for President in 2020, then more power to him. If Trump can run, Kanye can run for President. That’s his right. Also, another point is to be made. You know the point. Yes, I’m going to go there. We want to be free and that freedom is about respecting our dignity as black people (and never allowing anyone to mistreat us or exploit us).

  4. August 31, 2015 - Reply

    Who cares about Timberlake getting put on blast, serves him right after he threw Janet under the bus at the Super Bowl.

  5. August 31, 2015 - Reply

    Real question: what if Kanye runs as a Republican though?

    • August 31, 2015 - Reply


      Great Question. I don’t see him as the Republican type though. I could be wrong though.

      • August 31, 2015 - Reply

        I read some Republican activist registered a campaign committee for him today.

        • August 31, 2015 - Reply


          I’m shocked, but in retrospect, him running as a Republican wouldn’t be out of the ordinary.

          • August 31, 2015 - Reply


            I’m sure he could go either way. I think Kim & her sisters have endorsed Democrats in the past, but Jenner is a Republican so you never know what kind of influences he’s getting from that family.

            • August 31, 2015 - Reply


              Certainly, time will tell. You are dropping jewels like usual.

    • August 31, 2015 - Reply


      Come on Me, this is Kanye! He is going to make his own party and it is going to be the best party of all time…lol. The real question is…who would be his VP?

      • August 31, 2015 - Reply


        LOL. His VP would be interesting.

      • August 31, 2015 - Reply


        Kanye’s answer: What an insulting question. Why don’t you people recognize my genius? VPs are for people who need help running s**t. I got this yo. I don’t need a VP. I’m gone change the game.

        • August 31, 2015 - Reply



        • September 1, 2015 - Reply


          I can see him saying that…lol!

  6. August 31, 2015 - Reply

    What I learned from Kanye West’s speech…that Kanye has officially left the building, he isn’t coming back, to stop asking for the “old Kanye” that guy is gone, that he speak in contradictions and that I will pray for his children.

  7. August 31, 2015 - Reply

    Let me know get this is straight. So, if KanYe is elected POTUS in 2020 (which is not that far-fetched, after all George W, and Ronald Reagan became President too), that means Kim Kardashian will be the First Lady of these here United States of America !?!?

    • August 31, 2015 - Reply


      My friend said if that happened, she’d leave the country.

      • August 31, 2015 - Reply


        Lool. This Kanye thing is like a joke but you never know… I remember back in the day when George Bush, Jr was running I swore that there’s no way he’d win; no way America would have a son of a former POTUS as a new president. Well, we all know how it went…

        People seem to be so tired of career politicians they’re willing to give people like Donald Trump a shot.

        We shall see. *KanYeShrug*

  8. August 31, 2015 - Reply

    “Missed any part of Kanye’s VMA speech?…” Yes, and thank God. I don’t have 12 minutes of my life to dedicate to hearing him ramble.

  9. August 31, 2015 - Reply

    he has a cute kid …..

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