Kanye West's amazing MTV VMA speech: the full transcript

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At the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye West gave a speech that was, arguably, the highlight of the night. In his speech, West talked about art, artists, truth and the future, and announced that he was planning to run for president in 2020.

Here's the full text of West's speech, so you can decide for yourself if he deserves your vote:

Bro. Bro. Listen to the kids.

Jeremy, I gotta put it down for a second. Beautiful Jeremy Scott design.

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


And I often think back to the first day I met you, also. 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… you know…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 when I go to a baseball game and 60,000 people boo me. It crosses my mind a little bit.

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. If I had a daughter at that time would I had went onstage  and grabbed the mic from someone else’s?

You know this arena, tomorrow, it’s going to 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 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 FutureLoveSex/Sexy Back album. And bro, Justin, not to put you on blast but I saw that man on 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 [shit] they run about beef and all that? Sometimes I feel like I died for the artist’s opinion. For the artist to be able to have an opinion after they were successful.


I’m not no politician, bro!

And look at that. You know how many times MTV ran that footage again? Because it got them more ratings? You know how many times they announced Taylor was going to give me the award because it got them more ratings?


Listen to the kids, bro!

I still don’t understand awards shows. I don’t understand how they get 5 people who worked their entire life, one, sold records, sold tickets, to come, stand on the carpet and for the first time in their lives be judged on a chopping block and have the opportunity to be considered a loser.


I don’t understand it bro!

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.

But fuck that, bro! 2015! I will die for the art and for what I believe in. And the art ain’t always going to be polite. 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!

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, bro.


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. 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. 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, he would not let me back down.

I dont know what I finna to lose after this. It no matter though, because 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’ve guessed by this moment. I have decided in 2020 to run for president.

[mic drop]

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