5 of Kanye West’s Favorite Role Models Including Kanye West


The MTV Video Music Awards are always about Kanye West. At least in Kanye West’s mind. Sometimes, they are about Beyonce or his 2020 presidential campaign, but usually they are about Kanye.

Kanye was center stage during the most recent gathering of the awards show, held at Madison Square Garden, to introduce his brand new video for his song “Fade.” Of course, a spotlight on Kanye means he’s going to talk. He did just that. Kanye talked for 4 minutes about art, Taylor Swift, murder rates, and innovators. While listing these innovators that he considers role models he listed himself.

Text of Kanye’s VMA Speech:

I am Kanye West, and that feels especially great to say this year. I came here to present my new video, but before I do that, I’mma talk. Now, later tonight, ‘Famous’ might lose to Beyoncé, but I can’t be mad. I’m always wishing for Beyoncé to win, so.

But for people to understand just how blessed we are… 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, like, I put Ray J in it, bro. This is fame, bro! Like, I see you Amber. My wife is a G. Not a lot of peoples’ wives would let them say that right there. We came over in the same boat. Now we all in the same bed. Well, maybe different boats, but uh.

But if you think about last week, there were 22 people murdered in Chicago. You know, like, people come up to me like, ‘Yeah, that’s right! Take Taylor!’ But bro, like, I love all y’all. That’s why I called her.

So I was speaking at the Art Institute last year, and a kid came up to me and said ‘Three of my friends died, and I don’t know if I’m gonna be the next.’ And it has to, you know you have to think, like, when you’re a senior and it’s the last month and you just don’t feel like doing any more work. If you feel like you seeing people dying right next to you, you might feel like, what’s the point? You know like life could be like, starting to feel worthless in a way. I know times for me, I sit down and talk to older, like, like, rich people. You know, a.k.a. white, you know. And they tell me, ‘Don’t compare yourself to Steve Jobs. Don’t compare yourself to Walt Disney,’ and my friend Zekiah[sp?] told me… they tell me, ‘Don’t compare yourself to these people, right.’ My friend Zekiah [sp?] told me there’s three keys to keeping people impoverished: that’s taking away their esteem, taking away their resources, and taking away their role models. My role models are artists, merchants. There’s less than ten that I can name in history. Truman. Ford. Hughes. Disney. Jobs. West.

Bro. Bro! Tonight, we here to have fun. I’m standing in front of my idol, Puff Daddy. I’m standing in front of my wife, Kim Kardashian West. I’m standing in front of the future: Chance the Rapper, 2 Chainz, Jaden Smith. Bro, we are undeniably the influence, the thought leaders. I’m gonna play y’all a piece of my art, and I just hope y’all have a good time. Play that.

Let’s take a deeper dive into these people Kanye considers himself to be like.

1. Walt Disney: entrepreneur, animator, film producer
Walt created Disney and won 22 Oscars. Obviously, his accomplishments run much deeper, but if you’re the guy who created Disney, do you have to put anything on your resume?

2. Steve Jobs: entrepreneur, inventor, designer
Jobs co-founded Apple Inc.; and is one of the main reasons people across the Globe are able to walk around with computers in their pockets, much less have multiple computers in their homes.

3. Truman: not sure
Kanye could be referring to Truman Capote or President Harry Truman. One could also see this is as a reference to the movie, “Truman Show,” as how Kanye sees famous people in the world?

4. Howard Hughes: film producer, aviator, entrepreneur
Hughes was a film producer and spent most of the 1930s setting world air speed records as the head of the Hughes Aircraft Company. At the time of his death he was worth about $550 million dollars or around $4 billion dollars today.

5. Kanye West: rapper, producer, designer, artist, presidential hopeful
Kanye definitely listed himself as one of own artist-merchant role models. As a songwriter-producer-rapper, all six of Kanye’s studio albums have gone Platinum. He’s won 21 GRAMMY Awards and he’s sold over 30 million digital songs in the US alone. He’s designed and collaborated with Louis Vuitton, Jeremy Scott and Adidas.

He also listed his wife, Kim Kardashian West, Puff Daddy, Chance the Rapper, 2 Chainz and Jaden Smith as thought leaders. Thought leaders, but not quite artist-merchants, though Puff Daddy has had his own clothing line and vodka for several years.