Full Text, Kanye West VMA Vanguard Acceptance Speech

Bro. Bro. Listen to the kids.

(Two minutes thunderous applause. Kanye nodding seriously)

First of all, thank you Taylor for being so gracious and awarding me this award from you. Thank you.

(One minute pause, Kanye looking down.)

And I often think back to the first day I met you, also, Taylor Swift. You know, I think about when I’m in the grocery story with my daughter and I have a really great conversation about fresh juice… not… I don’t say that to my daughter, I, like, say it to… some other person that’s there… you know…and at the end they say, “Oh, you know a lot about juice, you are… well versed… on juice, so I guess… you’re not as bad as I thought you were ever since that time you interrupted Taylor Swift !”

(One minute thunderous applause. Kanye nods, looks down, pooches out lower lip defiantly)

And like, I think about it sometimes. It crosses my mind when I go to a baseball game and 60,000 people boo me. Or a Basketball game. And people boo me. Or I’m stopped at a red light and the person in the next car is all booing me and shit. It crosses my mind a little bit that the booing is on account of that one time I got up on stage and stood in front of Taylor Swift while she was doing something or getting something. ‘Cause I cannot think of a single other thing I have ever done that would make people boo me. I mean, they don’t actually say “Kanye, I am booing you at this red light ‘cause of how mean you were that one time to Taylor Swift”, but what else, right? Why the hell else would anybody ever boo Kanye?

(One minute pause. Miley Cyrus sticks tongue out.)

And I think. If I had to do it all again, what would I had done? Would I had worn a leather shirt? Would I have drank a half of bottle of Hennessy and gave the rest of it to the audience? Y’all know you drank that bottle too. A small portion of you all in the audience taking a sip off my bottle is ethically identical to me being so drunk at an award show I didn’t know or care if I was supposed to be on stage or not. The fact that I’m the only one in the whole audience who did it is… what now? What’s that thing where one thing happens and another does after it, but the two got nothing in common? Consequence? A Conference? I don’t know. If I had a daughter at that time would I had went onstage and grabbed the mic from someone else’s? I mean, you know, I have a daughter now, right, but if like there was this time machine? And I got in it to the past, but my daughter went into the future and came back grown up? And she was getting’ an award and somebody… somebody got on stage an… an said, like, “Okay, but somebody besides you shoulda got it, ain’t your TIME MACHINE ENOUGH FOR YOU, KANYE’S DAUGHTER?”… I’da killed that son of a bitch. Talk to my daughter that way.

(One and a half minute pause. Kanye looks confused.)

LISTEN TO THE KIDS, BRO!

(Four minute thunderous applause, Kanye looking down. Kanye looks briefly to the side. Five minute pause)

Forgot what I was saying.

(Two minute pause)

You know this arena, tomorrow, it’s going to be a completely different setup. some concert, something like that. Or a hockey game. They can do that, turn a concert hall into a hockey rink, like… magic and shit. Anything… can change into… anything. But the stage will be gone! Unless it’s like… another concert. Then the stage would still be here. Maybe the seating might change… a little.

(One minute pause. Confused smatterings of applause.)

After that night, though, the night where I said some things when it was maybe Taylor Swifts turn to be… saying some… things…the stage was gone, but the effect that it had on people remained. The interrupting I did. Not the stage itself. Stage wouldn’t have had a lasting effect on… on people… that’d be weird.

(Twelve minutes silence. Kanye downcast, broody face)

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. But one thing I am sure of is, it was time for me to say SOME thing. I have no doubt at all that it was totally appropriate for me to get up on stage at that moment and say stuff. Maybe not that stuff, but going up on stage right then, you know, I felt like I wanted to, I had the desire to, so I was supposed to, right? Maybe I got it wrong. On account of the half bottle of Hennesy, which you all split the rest of so don’t get all high and mighty on me and shit. I just… I sat at the Grammys and saw Justin Timberlake and Cee-Lo lose. Gnarls Barkley and the FutureLoveSex/Sexy Back album. And bro, Justin, not to put you on blast but I saw that man in tears, bro. You know? He lost and he cried. Right in public. And I was thinking like, he deserved to win Album of The Year! No one wants to see Justin Timberlake cry like a cub scout with a skinned knee! That’s some embarrassing shit, Justin! Give Justin the damn award so he won’t cry! I can’t look at a ex-Mouskteer cry! He was in the mouseketeers at one time… right? Did I get that wrong? Was that someone else?

(Seventeen minute pause. Miley Cyrus sticks out tongue, cups breasts, squeezes first right, then left several times.)

And this small box that we are, as the entertainers of the evening. How could you explain that? What does that even mean, ‘small box’? Why did I say those words just now? I don’t know. I don’t… know. I can say whatever, any words in any order at all and you all go nuts! I can go “Cow… dookey… band saw… military concussion… or something.” And it’s genius, ‘cause it’s coming out of my Mouth! KANYE’S MOUTH! …I’m like… the Hip Hop Sarah Palin or some shit.

(Thunderous applause. Nine minute pause.)

Sometimes I feel like all this shit they run about beef and all that? Sometimes I feel like I died for the artist’s opinion. You know, like Jesus? Like how he died for… something or other. He really died, but I feel like I metamorphically died, for being all mean to Taylor Swift that one time. So I’m pretty much the same as Jesus, except he didn’t sing and I DO! I died for the artist to be able to have an opinion after they were successful. An people boo me and shit ‘cause I had the temerity to not be all quiet and all “Oh, thank you thank you for making me famous, I’ll be good now, I won’t speak my mind!” Well I did, right in front of oh so pretty miss Taylor Swift and Ya’ll CRUCIFIED ME with your booing and shit! At Basketball games… and when I’m… talking… about juice… to people.

(Thunderous applause. Three minute pause. Kanye crouches and broods.)

I’m not no politician, bro! Listen to the kids! Hear that? Hear that yelling and hollering and clapping? It mean the KIDS are right, and anyone who isn’t hollering and clapping about me is WRONG! About ME! Wrong about that one time I did that thing while Taylor Swift was there. This is an APOLLOGY!… I think this is… I’m doing something… I’m doing something here. I know that.

(Nineteen minute Pause. Off and on applause.)

And look at that. You know how many times MTV ran that footage again? Of me standing in front of Taylor Swift that one time? Did anybody ever think maybe she was standing behind me? Everybody rerun Kanye’s ‘bad behavior’. Because it got them more ratings? You know how many times they announced Taylor Swift was going to give me the award because it got them more ratings? Why you think MTV got Taylor Swift to give me this award? For the IRONY?! I did one tiny little thing and MTV EXPLOITED IT! That’s UNBELIVEABLE! That’s some UNBELIEVABLE SHIT! That’s one thing I would NEVER do! Exploit something… for like, money… or attention… that’s some bad MTV shit! Kanye just wants to talk to people at the supermarket about Juice! Why you wanna get in the way of Kanye discussin’ juice with folks, MTV?

(Thirty second pause. Miley Cyrus stick tongue out, makes Popeye face. )

LISTEN TO THE KIDS, BRO!

(Seven minutes, seventeen seconds thunderous applause. Kanye looks down, turns his back, squats, stands up, cocks head, eventually turns around again.)

I still don’t understand awards shows. What is that? Like… on a TV… with people getting… nominated… and shit? For an… an award… for some thing. I think that’s what an award show is. I know it ain’t no sitcom. ‘Cause a sitcom got a laugh track. It’s kind of like… Entertainment Tonight? Right? But it’s… you know… happening. At the time…I guess that’s what an award show is. I don’t know, I still don’t get it.

(Two minute pause. Kanye touches parts of his head.)

I don’t understand how they get five people who worked their entire life, sold records, sold tickets, to come, stand on… the carpet and… and for the first time in their lives be judged on a chopping block and have the opportunity to be considered a loser. That don’t happen in art! People don’t judge art! If you do a concert, or, or… some other kind of… art… people don’t… You make a painting, nobody judge that painting!

(Thirty-five second pause)

I don’t understand it bro!

(Fifteen second pause, which seems like much longer, but is only fifteen seconds.)

LISTEN TO THE… Listen to the…

(Ten second super uncomfortable pause)

Listen…

(One minute thunderous applause. Kanye tilts head all the way back, opens mouth, works jaw around. Miley Cyrus sticks out tongue, makes several complicated hand motions indicating her genitals.)

I don’t understand when the biggest album or the biggest video… I still don’t…I feel conflicted bro! I just wanted people to like me more. Stop booing me sometimes. You have to like me, it’s not okay for you to not like me even if I do stuff you don’t like, that’s not what it’s about! You… people… are… REQUIRED to like me… all the time! Irregaardless!

(Thunderous applause have only just begun when Kanye interrupts.)

But fuck that, bro! 2015! That’s what the date is! I know that! It says so right on my WATCH! I will die for the art and for what I believe in. Like Jesus, in case you forgot! I know I told you you had to like me and I don’t want no booing and shit, but that don’t mean I ain’t TOTALLY ready to die for my art! Just… you know… not literally. And the art… ain’t always going to be… polite. See, I’m the art… you get that, right? So I don’t have to be… polite… and shit. So whatever the hell I did to Taylor Swift that one time was JUST FINE, OKAY?! Let it go. Kanye let that beef go. Long time ago. Kanye never even thinks about it. Don’t even know why we’re talking about that beef. YOU all gotta let it go. That’s who gotta let it go.

(One minute pause)

Y’all might be thinking right now, I wonder, did he smoke something before he came out here?” The answer is yes, I rolled up a lil somethin’! I knocked the edge off! Did I snort something? Why not? It’s a free country, right? Did Kanye put some of that airplane glue in a brown paper bag and stick his head in it before coming up here? What, is that against the law, now?… to do… that… Before… before… getting’ up in front of… cameras… and shit?

(Three minute pause, followed by sudden violent, thunderous standing ovation. Miley Cyrus pull stick-ems off breast, unrolls tongue and stamps on it repeatedly.)

I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, bro. I don’t know… I don’t know anything… like… at all. Like if you ask me, “Kanye, how do you… like, mow a lawn, or shit… I would not know! And neither would you! Nobody knows anything! An’ I can tell you that ‘cause I’m the geniusest!

(One minute pause. Miley Cyrus is going to stick her tongue out, but Kanye points at her angrily and she freezes like a small animal a bigger animal is going to eat.)

But all I can say to my artists, 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.

(Thunderous applause, audience jumping up and down, many wetting themselves)

I believe in myself. We the millennials, bro. This is a new. This is a new mentality. We are not going to control our kids with brands. Kanye is not about brands! We’re not going to teach low self-esteem and hate to our kids. We’re going to teach our kids that they can be somethin’. We going to teach our kids that they can stand up for themselves. We going to teach our kids to believe in themselves. If my grandfather was here right now, I would be terrified, because that man has been dead for years!

(Seventeen minutes of applause so thunderous, several heads explode like in the movie ‘Scanners’. Miley Cyrus’ head explodes and her headless body stumbles comically around stage with a shop vac, milking laughs while she sucks up her head remains and then opens the shop vac, takes out the bag, places it on her head and a seven foot tall Trans activist on stilts wearing day glow tartan rushes from the wings and sticks googly eyes on the bag and Miley presents her with an oversized novelty check with the words ‘YA’LL BEEN APPROPRIATED, SUCKA!’ In the memo.)

I don’t know what I gonna lose after this. It no matter though, because it ain’t about me… Wait, I said that wrong, it’s totally about me, I’M ACCEPTING AN AWARD HERE, JUST BECAUSE KANYE BAGGED ON THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF ARTISTS WINNING THINGS, WHAT DID YOU THINK? Thought I was gonna… what… turn it down? Shit! Kanye is not… Marlon fuckin’ Brando! Marlin Brando… right… was Superman’s DAD! Kanye is YEEZUS! THAT beats the FUCK out of fuckin’ JOR-EL any God damn fuckin’ DAY!

(Three minute pause. Audience loosens ties, whipes sweat off collective brow, smokes, falls asleep, wakes up and shamefully walks home in the clothes it wore the night before because it doesn’t even have cab far and it sure as hell isn’t waking up whoever the hell it went home with to ask.)

It’s about ideas, bro. New ideas. People with ideas. People who believe in truth.
And yes. As you probably could’ve guessed by this moment. I have decided in 2020 to run for president.

(Thirty second Pause.)

‘Cause you people will believe in any old shit. Seriously.

[mic drop. Seventeen straight hours of thunderous applause as people beat their hands to hamburger like pulp until one by one they die from blood loss. Miley Cyrus sticks out tongue.)