Was Kanye West's VMAs Speech Improvised? There's No Way He Could Have Planned All Of That
If there's one thing I know about performing, it's that it's super hard to fake spontaneous. You either have those lines memorized, or you don't and are totally winging it. So when Kanye West accepted his Video Vanguard Award at the 2015 VMAs and gave a speech that was full of pauses and switched thoughts, I had a pretty strong feeling that he was totally improvising. Did it remind anyone else them of Amy Schumer's Glamour Awards speech about getting her period and not shaving her legs above the knees?
Yeah. It was that epic and ridiculous. West covered topics that no speechwriter in their right mind would have mentioned. Some of the moments were seriously sincere and awesome, like when he apologized to Taylor Swift for that moments six years ago when he interrupted her VMAs acceptance speech. And then, toward the end, when he talked about how all of this wasn't about him, but about ideas and the importance of new ones. I was cheering from my front row seat (aka my couch) for art and Kanye and believing in yourself. It was a brilliant moment.
But the rest of it? It was a little... rambling. I really hate to say that, because no one loves Kanye West more than I do, but there really is no way that that speech was scripted. If it had been, I highly doubt he would have reacted directly to Swift's speech which introduced him — or been so emotional when he did. Or admitted to having smoked "something" backstage before the speech. Or announced that he was running for president in 2020. Or hated on award shows so hard. Because, yeah, in case you missed it, his speech had all of that.
Listen, the speech was a legit manifesto. Every human being in the world should listen to it immediately. I was totally inspired and moved and made to fall so hard in love with Kanye, I couldn't even stand it. But let's be real: That was totally on the fly. And I loved every minute of it.