Kanye West had the greatest acceptance speech of all time.
“I think maybe for one of the first times in my life I understand how it is to feel humbled,” he joked after receiving the Visionary Award at the 2015 BET Honors, which aired Monday night.
The rapper spoke eloquently about race, wealth and his marriage to Kim Kardashian West, asking the crowd if he could “go Chicago for a second.”
“At the barber shop and everything, I used to hear like people always talking about, ‘Man, you know when an entertainer get on, of course you know he gonna go and get a white girl and the white girl gonna go get a rich black dude.’ But I wanna say that my wife has dated broke black dudes,” he joked as Kardashian West laughed in the audience. “So ain’t got nothing to do with the money.”
But West, 37, turned serious while defending his biracial relationship with the reality TV star, recalling a story she told him about her father, O.J. Simpson defender Robert Kardashian, discovering his Bentley had been vandalized with the slur “N—- lover.”
“She stood there crying and said, ‘Dad, why are you going so crazy?’ And he said to her, ‘One day, you may have a black child. A beautiful, beautiful, beautiful black child, and it’s gonna be hard. You’re gonna see how are it is,’ ” West said. “So true enough, we deal with racism. … The micro of it is that we focus on the different races, as opposed to the macro, which is the human race.”
West also discussed how wealth and success don’t automatically lead to equality.
“Harriet Tubman said she could have freed so many more … if they only knew they weren’t free,” he said. “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 that because 3 percent of a gated community has colored people in it that we’re free. It’s the mentality, the slave mentality, where we all eventually become slaves to that car, slaves to the perception, slaves to the idea of being cool.”
Watch the full speech above (Warning: some NSFW language).