Kanye West BET Honors Video: Watch Rapper Accept Visionary Award With Speech About Kim Kardashian And Slavery
Kanye West received the Visionary Award at the 2015 BET Honors, which were broadcast on Monday after being taped last month. Watch below!
Damon Dash, who co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records with Jay Z, led the tribute to West, candidly referencing their tumultuous history together that dates back to 2001, when Dash signed him to the label as a rapper, despite West’s history as a producer. Dash acknowledged in his introduction that they had “emotional” differences, and he didn’t believe West could be a successful rapper. West’s “courage,” however, proved otherwise.
Following a video presentation featuring West, Kim Kardashian, Jay Z, Common, Kendrick Lamar, and more, the man of honor himself took the stage to accept the award and made a nearly nine-minute long speech that touched on everything from his marriage to money to slavery. West began by saying he felt “humbled” for the first time in his life, and then used his relationship with Kardashian, who is a “person not of color” to talk about race and separatism.
Pointing out that Kardashian isn’t with him for his fame or fortune, West said, “My wife has dated broke black dudes,” prompting her and the audience to break into laughter. “So it ain’t got nothing to do with the money.” West then related a story Kardashian once shared about her father Robert Kardashian being deemed a “n*gger lover” for representing O.J. Simpson. West said, “We deal with racism because there are different races. Or the micro of it is that we focus on the different races, as opposed to the macro, which is the human race.”
West, referencing some of his past controversial remarks, said “race” and “people’s perception of celebrity” have been used to stop him from being “empowered,” and argued that the worth of black people has been misrepresented. He even said, “Harriet Tubman could have freed more if they only knew they weren’t free.” West went on, “So don’t think that because we can afford this custom Balmain suit that we’re free. And don’t think that because we can buy a $300,000 car that we’re free. And don’t think because three percent of a gated community has colored people in it that we’re free.”
“It’s the mentality, the slave mentality, that we all eventually become slaves to that car, slaves to the perception, slaves to the idea of being cool,” West continued. He concluded, “Our power, our oil, since we don’t own any oil, is our expression, is our influence. Don’t never let them take that away. And when we have the chance to express it and influence, don’t just do it for us. Do it for the human race.”
West also joined Charlie Wilson for an impromptu freestyle performance. The special, hosted by Wayne Brady for the second year in a row, also honored Usher, Phylicia Rashad, John W. Thompson, and Johnnetta B. Cole. The “BET Honors,” now in its eighth year, “pay tribute to the contributions of legendary African Americans in the areas of education, theater, business and technology, music and innovation,” according to the network. Check out the videos of West below, including unaired footage, and tell us what you think.