Kanye West Touches on Racism, Personal Expression in Acceptance Speech at 2015 BET Honors [VIDEO]
Kanye West was honored with the Visionary Award for his innovation as an artist and forward thinking in all aspects of his creativity at the 2015 BET Honors.
Before he hit the stage to accept the honor, a video of his various friends and peer professionals played onscreen, each paying tribute to West. Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar and Common wax poetic about the greatness that is Yeezus. Common describes Ye's attention to detail and quality. "If he goes into an art form, he's gonna be great about it," he said, noting that the company he keeps reflects in his artistry and way of doing things.
His cohort in crafting Watch the Throne, Jay Z feels West is highly regarded as an artist because "he has this belief in what he's saying," while his wife, Kim Kardashian, believes he "thinks about things a couple of years before they catch on" and is always looking to innovate and push the envelope. Lamar says the magic of Mr. West is that "whether it's an artist or being a human being, there's no limits," but Jay Z hit the nail on the head when he also stated, "He's constantly taking thoughts and concepts that are now that haven't been seen yet, taking them from the future and bringing them to now."
West then graced the stage to accept his award. "Well, seeing how for the first time of the life it feels to be humbled," he said, which the crowd found amusing. He went on to thank Stephen Hill, BET's Head of Programming; and his hometown of Chicago. His visit with Minister Louis Farrakhan and their conversation about dating a woman not of color was also part of his speech, as was the "barbershop mentality" on dating as a rich, black man.
The rapper also shared a story of Kim's father, the late attorney Rob Kardashian. West described her dad's experience with racism when someone wrote the words "n----- lover" on the side of his Bentley because he supported O.J. Simpson in his legal defense during his infamous murder trial.
Many missed the deeper meaning in his statements over the last year, West stated. His words were rooted in a deeper need to represent ownership rather than just "playing in the league." Capitalism and becoming slaves to materials and ideas were all part of the conversation. But out of all of the quotables in his speech, the one that stood out the most was when West stated that "[as black people] our oil is our expression, it's our influence, don't ever let them take that away." Powerful words, Mr. West.
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