Kanye West’s inexplicable VMA speech, and how SCORRE™ could have made it better.
Author Sarah Beckman
I have teenagers. It’s no surprise then, the night of the recent Video Music Awards, or VMA’s, my vehicle was filled with the repeated sounds of “Kanye for President” as they audibly scrolled through their Twitter feeds. That’s the funny thing about teenagers, (and many others) unless they can tweet it to the world, and then repeat it out loud to anyone who will listen, it didn’t happen.
In the case of Kanye’s speech, after watching it later to see what all the fuss was about, I wished it had never happened, Bro.
Was Kanye’s speech inspirational? Worthy of National attention? I think not. Check it out, and you might wish you had that half bottle of Hennessy he mentions just to get through it.
As a communicator, and a coach of communicators, I find it completely frustrating when someone completely wastes 11 minutes of prime opportunity, especially on National Television.
There were so many things I was shocked about, but mostly, I wonder did he just decide not to prepare anything? He said himself the networks went crazy promoting that Taylor Swift was giving him this award. Yet, his speech was like a babbling brook, only not the kind you could listen to for hours.
9 years ago, I was lucky enough to attend a conference that illuminated for me all that is good and holy about communication. It changed me. And good or bad, it changed how I listen to other people when they speak. It is why I could hardly tolerate listening to that speech, and why I firmly believe that yes, Kanye probably did “roll up a little something” before coming out to deliver it.
The real problem with Kanye, and anyone who has an audience, is that he DID have something he wanted to say. He just didn’t have the tools to put it together in a clear, powerful and memorable way.
In case you wanted to know what Kanye was really saying that night, here’s my take on it using the SCORRE™ method and language.
What Kanye accomplished in his speech, whether he planned to or not, was to address his previously tainted reputation and defend his choices as an artist. I doubt he intended to say he was running for President, I think that part just happened in the moment. You know, running with it, so to speak.
However, if he was thinking about his audience before that speech, and not just himself, he would have taken the opportunity to choose a purpose for his talk, or an Objective as we call it at SCORRE™, that would benefit them, not him.
Since he didn’t, I did for him.
When I read the transcript of his speech, analyzed it at length, and tried to look past the lengthy pauses, the countless “bros”, and the runaway tangents, it came out like this:
It is an enabling speech whose purpose is to show you how to persevere under criticism as an artist. And he supports that theory, or Proposition (to use a SCORRE™ term), by giving you his advice as to how you can achieve this perseverance.
We affectionately call the Objective you choose for a talk “the ugly sentence” and the one I wrote for Kanye’s speech was this:
You can stand up under criticism as an artist by following Kanye’s 10 recommendations.
The support for his proposal is what we call the Rationale of the speech. Rationale should be parallel in form to each other and are categorized with a Keyword, which is always a plural noun. The Keyword aligns the rationale so the talk makes sense. Kanye’s original speech did not…
For my purposes, recommendations is the keyword.
And here are Kanye’s 10 recommendations to follow in order to stand up under criticism:
- Keep doing what you’re doing – your art matters.
- Don’t let the naysayers get you down.
- Don’t worry if people don’t like you. (He used a few more choice words than this at times)
- Don’t disrespect other artists.
- Be confident.
- Don’t always be polite.
- Believe in yourself.
- Teach your kids they can be something.
- Worry about how you feel at the time.
- When all else fails, run for President.
Now don’t criticize my rationale here, because even if it seems less than rational, it came straight from Kanye’s mouth.
And who am I to re-write someone’s speech?
Sarah Beckman is a Speaker, Writer and Communications Coach. She also speaks to audiences across the country on topics including loving your neighbor, sharing your faith, safeguarding your marriage and digging up your talents. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband, Craig and her 3 teenage children. She loves the mountains and eating green chile.