After an entire career of creating incredible music and unforgettable moments for the world to see, Kanye West added another moment for his highlight reel with his acceptance speech for the Video Vanguard Award at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, which you can watch again here.
For those unfamiliar with Dr. West’s “streams of consciousness” (wrongly titled as “rants”), this is Kanye’s way of expressing himself in a raw, unfiltered, and honest manner. As witnessed by many during his immaculate concerts, these speeches are anything but prepared: they are Kanye just letting loose and speaking his mind. Along with many people being upset or confused at Kanye’s format of his acceptance speech at this year’s VMAs, they also missed some important messages that are central to understanding the complicated musical icon that we have come to see and hear everywhere over the past 10 years. Here’s what Kanye really said when accepting his award at the 2015 VMA’s:
While circumstances may change, words and actions have an enormous impact.
While Kanye and Taylor Swift have been friends for years and it seems that Taylor has fully forgiven Kanye for his infamous interruption, Kanye still feels the impact of his actions. In his speech, he talked about how he still reflects upon that moment in the grocery store and when people “boo” him at baseball games, and it makes him think if he would still make that same decision now, when he has an entirely different life. It sounds like Kanye truly regrets how he treated Taylor six years ago and that he knows how much words and actions can uplift, or hurt, people.
But he won’t stop standing up for deserving artists.
Like every human being on earth, Kanye is complex. While he may hurt Taylor Swift and other artists, he does it from a place of truly caring about the music industry. Realizing the power of his actions, Kanye said that, “the contradiction is that I do fight for artists but in that fight, somehow, was disrespectful to artists”. He wants to stand up for many artists and for the integrity of the industry, but sometimes makes mistakes in trying to accomplish this goal.
“Listen to the kids, bro.”
Said numerous times in his acceptance speech, this phrase is a constant theme throughout Kanye’s music. In order for one to “listen to the kids”, we must put aside our convoluted and extravagant conceptions of life and understand that our lives should and can be simple and enjoyable, just like when we were kids. In reference to award shows, Kanye believes that by listening to the kids, we can change our conceptions of entertainment and create a world that more appropriately and consciously appreciates creativity, artists, and music as a whole.
Believe in yourself.
Ending his speech with a message of hope and perseverance, Kanye wants to ensure that our world is full of confident and proud people. Proclaiming that, “we’re gonna teach our kids that they can be something, that they can stand up for themselves”, Kanye wants us to find meaning in our lives and seize our moments to shine.
Whether Kanye will continue changing the world through music, fashion, or even a run for the White House in 2020, I know one thing: that we have all have more learning to do from the wise Dr. West.
Originally published at evanltraylor.wordpress.com on August 31, 2015.