At last night’s ACE Awards, presented by the Accessories Council at Cipriani, Kanye West was named 2010’s Stylemaker of the Year. To accept the honor, he gave a rousing speech, which we present in full below for your reading pleasure. You’re welcome.
The concept of commercialism in the fashion and art world is looked down upon. You know, just to think, “What amount of creativity does it take to make something that masses of people like?” And, “How does creativity apply across the board?” Why, if someone is good in one field can they not be accepted or given the slightest opportunity to express and be creative in other fields? I thank Marc Jacobs so much for giving me the opportunity to design a shoe for Louis Vuitton, but the thing that broke my heart most was when they said, “You’re finished. The shoe’s finished.” When it was ready it was like the dream of putting together the fabric and having the energy that I knew of being a street kid, of being a boy out of Chicago, and enjoying every day and the way I can connect with this. It’s like, you can’t play the video game anymore. And that’s what it’s about. So many people in this room, they can’t even go on vacation without being creative. They can’t sit on the beach, they have to create constantly. And that’s how I feel with this album coming out.
I feel convicted. I feel a level of honesty. I feel a level of truth. I feel like a 5-year old. I feel like I’m getting closer to the 5-year-old inside of me and I feel like I have to represent that 5-year-old, even, even at the risk of my public … Maybe I can’t find the words right now, but we know what it is. Some people hate me. But nonetheless, my biggest moments, my biggest Internet-crashing moments were the opinion of a 5-year-old. The opinion of a 5-year-old, the spirit of a 5-year-old with the responsibility of a 100-year old. Where the truth will set you free or the truth will close doors. What compromises do we have to make? How many compromises do we have to make every day in this field just to keep things going? Just to be able to sell a product?
And looking at my project now versus Graduation, and look at what’s happening — what is the impact? What is the impact of last year? What did it have on me? Years from now, hundreds of years from now, what will be written in the history books? If you want to just understand how much I care, how selfless I am, how much I could give … For this to be the fifteen-year anniversary and for me to stand up here and be the first male to be honored for an influencer award or to be even recognized, because I sit back and as I say, “Let’s have a toast for the douchebags” … Fashion breaks my heart.
You know, when they do a magazine of No. 1 New Yorkers or something like that and I’m blatantly left out, I feel like … It hurts me. And I just appreciate the people in this room that are open-minded enough to remember when they were a 5-year-old. To remember when they could color outside the lines, to remember when they could give their opinion honestly without affecting their job, without it affecting their well-being. Or their kids having to go to the same school because they’re convicted about what they really, really believe. I thought that’s what true art was. I thought that’s what a true artist was. And to be able to stand up here in front of you guys and be recognized after all of this means a lot to me, and it means a lot for me to say this right now. Convicted right now. Thirty-three-years-old, still creating art. It’s rage, it’s creativity, it’s pain, it’s hurt, but it’s the opportunity to still have my voice get out there through music. To let my pain hit the radio and thank you for this moment of acceptance.