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Kanye West: How NOT To Give An Awards Acceptance Speech

Kanye West just cannot get out of his own way. In his acceptance speech for the VMA Vanguard Award, a huge honor, he once again lacked the grace, humility, and, frankly, the skills to deliver the speech his audience deserved to hear. You can watch it here.

At the start I thought he was might be about to redeem himself, acknowledging and perhaps even apologizing for his outrageously rude behavior at the 2009 awards show when he snatched an award out of the hands of Taylor swift because, in his opinion, others were more deserving (Beyoncé).

Within seconds, however, he veered into familiar territory.

He raised questions about his behavior, mentioned how fans and the world had hated and mercilessly mocked him for it, then concluded by excusing his behavior as someone who had to take the hit for all artists who are afraid to express an opinion. He even used the words “died for the artists’ opinion.” (A thinly veiled comparison to Jesus?)

Then he had the temerity to chalk it all up to his having drunk half a bottle of Hennessy before that notorious appearance.  A non-apology if I ever heard one. After that, he transitioned to how many times MTV played both the original clip AND ads announcing how Taylor Swift would be handing him his award this year  — all for the ratings.  While that may be true, if he hadn’t behaved so boorishly to begin with, there would have been nothing to replay.

Did I mention MTV was his host for the evening?

From there he mentioned not understanding awards shows. This while showing up to receive his own award. He did admit he just wanted to be liked, which was the only moment a little humanity shone through. At least that’s what I thought he said. Truthfully, his language was so street, it was a bit hard to decipher at that point. Maybe it was because of whatever he said he had smoked.

His close was a one sentence announcement that he planned to run for president in 2020. Well, if it’s anything like this year, let the circus begin!

And if this all sounds disorganized, it is because the speech was a rambling, incoherent, self-aggrandizing, self-centered mess.

TAKEAWAYS (there are many, but these are the main ones):

  1. Be gracious. No one ever gets there alone.
  2. Never compare yourself to Jesus Christ.
  3. Don’t dis your hosts and sponsors.
  4. Don’t drink or smoke weed before a presentation.

3 thoughts on “Kanye West: How NOT To Give An Awards Acceptance Speech”

  1. Ruth, I’m starting to think he has a mental health issue. How can a (my favorite term lately) “grown-ass adult” continue to be so clueless, when he must have professionals around him who are giving him some kind of guidance? Or maybe he doesn’t, and instead is surrounded by yes-men and -women who aren’t helping. I don’t know. He needs you. That is for sure.

  2. I almost never watch TV, but weirdly enough saw this presentation while channel surfing. It was such a disturbing display, but I didn’t have the analysis as to why – other than it seemed to be missing an real apology. It seemed like the whole thing was a second humiliation if Taylor, who no doubt was anxious to out it a behind her. I did notice that he still couldn’t see her as a human being deserving of dignity – it was only “wrong” because she was someone’s daughter, and if only he had had one himself he would have been able to see that. Unfortunately, I think, a lot of oeople don’t mind that he self- aggrandizement instead of apologized. It’s not going to hurt his career.

  3. Perhaps I need to develop a bit more patience or something since he is not a speaker. I’m sure if I had to do what he does, I wouldn’t do well either. Honestly, it didn’t look like had put forth any effort whatsoever – I could be wrong.

    I tried, but I couldn’t listen to the whole speech. As a professional speaker and public speaking coach, it was simply more than I could bear.

    I believe you summed it up quite well – “…the speech was a rambling, incoherent, self-aggrandizing, self-centered mess.”

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