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Kanye West is now a big man on campus.
The rapper received an honorary doctorate from the Art Institute of Chicago on Monday, and his acceptance speech referenced some of his recent accomplishments and even included a shout-out to George W. Bush.
West was never a student at the school, but he briefly attended Chicago’s American Academy of Art and Chicago State University before leaving academics behind to pursue music.
Five of the most memorable passages from his speech are below.
1. ” ‘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.’ ”
2. “George Bush [pauses for laughter] has some very cool self-portraits. I didn’t know he was an artist!”
3. “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 [sat] here, kind of shaking a little bit, is, ‘I need to get rid of that feeling. I need to not be nervous.’ “
4. ‘This honor is going to make your lives easier. Two reasons: You don’t have to defend me as much [laughs], and I’m going to 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 of Paul McCartney grabbing me and 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.”
5. “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.”
The complete speech can be heard below.
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