Let's be honest: No one knew what exactly was in store when the 2016 VMAs gave Kanye West free reign of the stage for a solid four minutes. And while pop culture aficionados and celeb-watchers everywhere were expecting Kanye to slay Taylor Swift in his VMAs speech, Yeezy actually took a different approach, mentioning T. Swift (and that "Famous" phone call) only briefly. Truth be told, what Kanye said about Taylor Swift was surprisingly low key — and all part of an inspirational and frankly kind of heartwarming speech.
While Yeezy could have easily taken the moment to shade the heck out of Swift, seeing as how he had an enormous platform all to himself for several minutes, he actually took the time to explain the meaning behind his "Famous" music video. And yes, he did make sure to note that he called T. Swift to give her the heads up.
"It was an expression of our now, our fame right now, us on the inside of the TV. You know, just to put — the audacity to put Anna Wintour right next to Donald Trump. I mean, I put Ray J in there bro! This is fame bro!" the rapper explained, before calling out his ex in the audience: "Like, I see you Amber... My wife is a G. We came over in the same boat, now we're all in the same bed. Well, maybe different boats, but.... If you think about last week, there was 22 people murdered in Chicago. You know, like, people come up to me like 'Man, that's right. Take Taylor...' I love all y'all. That's why I called her!"
However, his brief mention of Swift (he had to, after all) doesn't come from a place of malice. If you ask Yeezy, he'd tell you that it actually comes from a place of love — in his mind, he was doing a courtesy to Swift by letting her know about the song. And, I guess his inclusion of all of the naked celebs in bed with him in the video was his way of saying they're all part of a similar phenomenon — fame — at the same point in time.
And though West, of course, did mention Swift in his speech, that part was rather glossed over. Instead, he spent his time on stage talking about real-world issues, like too many young people being killed and the impoverishment that plagues too many. He talked about taking a stand and influencing (and entertaining) people as an artist. Taylor Swift was just a small component, and for that, maybe that makes Yeezy's speech just as surprising as if he did diss her.