A few weeks ago, Kanye West received his honorary doctorate from SAIC — the School of the Art Institute — and today, the latter released their high quality, official highlight video of Kanye’s speech to the graduating students a day before the ceremony.
The quick 2 and a half minute video is filled with gems, namely this one that I transcribed that really resonated with me. And wow, what a statement on hip hop.
I feel that throughout time, as artists, our responsibility was to the truth ’cause how else could history be documented? How else could our time be represented? This time that we have. You know, who’s going to stand up and say, as a gentleman said earlier today, how it really is right now. Who’s going to express that? There was a time when hip hop expressed that. It doesn’t anymore. That is the privilege of art… to express exactly what you feel, and to never lose that.
– Kanye West
Definitely watch this for more than that quote above.
ICYMI: Kanye West’s speech at L.A. Technical College
Welcome to Graduation!
Kanye West is receiving his honorary doctorate from SAIC today — that’s why he was in town yesterday while performing “All Day” at the Bulls game — and the Art Institute is live streaming the commencement ceremony now. Watch here.
UPDATE: Stream over. Watch Kanye’s 6 minute speech accepting his honorary doctorate below. Dr. Kanye West.
Complex transcribed and acquired audio of Kanye West’s hour-long lecture at SAIC yesterday and it features a lot of gems as you could imagine. Listen below:
Question: I’m from the West Side of Chicago—this is gonna get a little emotional—I’ve lost two of my friends to violence. They got shot and killed. I made all the right decisions—never did drugs, never did anything, but… I’m scared. I’m scared I’m next. My family and I we live on a corner street, and we’re scared for bullets to come through the window and hit my sister, but like… I’m the last hope. I’m the first one to ever make it, and I’m so hungry, and I need something now. Just hoping you give some guidance, to all of us… We need something to keep on in this city… because I don’t know if somebody else is gonna end my life or… if I’ll never get out.
KW: I’m speechless. I don’t have the answer to that. I can only just listen to you and feel and understand what we’re dealing with here. And I can’t say that anything that I do or say will be the end-all be-all difference. I mean, we could just try. Yeah, I’m not even gonna try to give any politically correct answer that makes it seem like, after I say it, it’s all good—‘cause it’s not all good; it’s fucked up out here.
“Kanye West is a leader in the music industry as a Grammy Award-winning recording artist and producer, as well as a fashion designer and interdisciplinary artist whose work provokes cultural discourse by reflecting a realism of the street. He is an advocate for education and a thinker and maker who often uses his work—his lyrics, videos, performances, and fashion designs—to deconstruct stereotypes and spur cultural discourse on important social issues. West’s work, like much of hip-hop, is meant to startle us out of our complacency, and this is the role of art.”
In recent months, it was announced that Kanye West will be receiving an honorary college degree from where he so famously dropped out before his 1st album, SAIC — the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.
FADER released a new interview with SAIC’s Dean Lisa Wainwright who talked about the decision to award Kanye with the degree, the resistance to it from some alums, and his overall impact on the school’s curriculum and the mindset they intend to teach their students. I loved some of her many quotables (a couple down below) and couldn’t agree more with rewarding Kanye’s talent, genius, and overall impact. Plus, this story’s close to us since GWHH co-founder Maks G is a proud SAIC alum and I can attest to the amazing curriculum offered by the school just by being close to Maks’ projects, classes, as well as his peers.
There’s this sense that high art is what we honor, and pop culture is not what we teach in art school. I think that’s a problem.
“What art school teaches—what our art school teaches—is how to think creatively even outside of the field in which you operate, and Kanye does that. He slips between these disciplines in such interesting ways. And that’s what art school teaches you: how to keep modeling new ideas, and by modeling I really mean physically modeling thoughts and concepts and issues. I think art school, in some ways, is going to jump ahead of college, universities, in providing an education for young people who don’t really know what the field will be next. But to teach at the kind of innovating, creative, problem-solving, model iteration, flexibility, bad-ass radicalism that Kanye certainly engages—I think that’s good.”
— SAIC Dean Lisa Wainwright
Between this, and TIME, Kanye’s reeling in even more prestigious accomplishments.