It’s official: you may now call him Dr. Kanye West.
Yeezus received an honorary doctorate degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on Monday (May 10). Taking to the podium to accept the accolade, West’s brief speech touched on his opinionated nature, his recent kudos from The New York Times and TIME Magazine and his pledge to use his artistic prowess for the greater good.
Read the full text from his speech below and watch it in the video above.
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I am a pop artist, so my medium is public opinion, and the world is my canvas. ‘I’m sorry’ is something that you can use a lot. It gives you the opportunity to give your opinion, apologize for it, and give your opinion again. People say, ‘You should not be sorry for your opinions.’
George Bush – has some very cool self portraits. I didn’t know he was an artist. I felt my nerves a bit, and I don’t feel that feeling a lot. The nerves of humility and modesty when being honored. A humanization, a reality of being recognized. And all I thought, as I sit here, kind of shaking a little bit, is: ‘I need to get rid of that feeling.’ I need to not be nervous.
This honor is gonna make your lives easier. Two reasons: you don’t have to defend me as much. And, I’m gonna make all of our lives easier. And it’s these Floyd Mayweather belts that are needed to prove what I’ve been saying my entire life. Whether it’s the cosign from Paul McCartney saying ‘It’s okay, he doesn’t bite white people,’ or the New York Times cover, or the TIME “Most Influential” cover, and now a doctorate at the Art Institute of Chicago.
When I was giving a lecture at Oxford, I brought up this school because when I went on that mission to create in other spaces: apparel, film, performance, it would have been easier if I could have said I had a degree at the Art Institute of Chicago.