In a rambling, emotional and at times bizarre award acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night, the rapper, producer and fashion designer said that in 2020 he will run for president.
It was not immediately clear whether he was serious.
“I don’t know what I stand to lose after this, it don’t matter though, because it ain’t about me, it’s about new ideas, bro, new ideas. People with ideas, people who believe in truth,” West said after accepting the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from singer Taylor Swift. “And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”
“We the millenials, bro,” West, 38, said moments earlier. “This is a new mentality. We are not going to control our kids with brands. We are not going to teach low self-esteem and hate to our kids. We are going to teach our kids that they can be something, we’re going to teach our kids that they can stand up for themselves. We’re going to teach our kids to believe in themselves.”
West’s announcement — which came after he acknowledged smoking “a little something … I knocked the edge off” — is far from the first time he has dabbled in the political arena. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, West famously criticized then President George W. Bush at a benefit concert, saying he “doesn’t care about black people.”
West’s relationship with President Barack Obama, whom he endorsed, has been mixed. In 2009 Obama called West a “jackass” after West crashed Taylor Swift’s 2009 MTV VMA acceptance speech. In 2013, West said he felt “used” by Obama, but by 2014 he had mended fences, tweeting that he had met with Obama and calling for people to vote for Democrats in the midterm elections.
Further complicating matters is that should he actually run in 2020, West might be running against the candidate his wife just endorsed. Three weeks ago, West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, posted a selfie of herself alongside West and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, writing that she “really loved hearing her speak & hearing her goals for our country, #HillaryForPresident.”