VMAs 2015: Kanye West reveals political ambitions as Minaj insults Cyrus

Miley Cyrus billboard

Kanye West announced that he plans to run for president in 2020 at the MTV’s Video Music Awards on Sunday night in Los Angeles.

His comments came after being presented with the award show’s highest honor by Taylor Swift, who won four of the nine awards she was nominated for at the annual ceremony, including video of the year for Bad Blood, which features Kendrick Lamar.

West accepted the Video Vanguard award with a rambling 10-minute speech where he discussed grocery stores, baseball stadiums and awards shows. After admitting that he “rolled up a little something” before coming to the show, West made his political ambitions clear.

“And yes, as you probably could’ve guessed in this moment, I’ve decided in 2020 to run for president,” West said.

While his speech affirmed that he and Swift have resolved their earlier conflict, earlier in the show, a new pop star battle played out between Nicki Minaj and the show’s host, Miley Cyrus.

Minaj opened the show clad in a red feather headpiece and matching dress to perform her song Trini Dem Girls. She then launched into The Night Is Still Young, where she brought Taylor Swift onstage to perform alongside her. Their performance ended with a hug, leading MTV to declare an end to the “beef,” that emerged after the nominations were announced last month.

Swift had taken Minaj’s tweeted criticism of racism in the music industry personally, leading the pop star to respond to Minaj on Twitter, writing: “I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot ...”

Swift apologized days later.

But before the night ended, Minaj responded to criticism from the show’s host, Miley Cyrus, who had said in a New York Times interview last week that Minaj’s criticism was impolite and came from a place of jealousy.

“And now back to this bitch that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press – Miley, what’s good?” Minaj said while accepting the award for best hip-hop video.

Cyrus, who was standing on a nearby stage, said: “We’re all in the industry, we all do interviews, and we all know how they manipulate shit.”

Near the end of the broadcast, Cyrus spoke from behind a black curtain as she changed clothes. The curtain fell aside slightly at one point, giving the audience a very swift glimpse of her left breast.

While presenting the award to Minaj, actress Rebel Wilson made a poorly received joke about police brutality while presenting. Wearing a T-shirt that said “Fuck tha stripper police,” Wilson made jokes about the hardships she faced by stripper police.

“They come to your house. You think you’re getting arrested, and you just get a lap dance and it’s usually uninspired,” Wilson said. “I hired a police stripper for my grandma’s 80th and he wouldn’t even feel her up ... I hate this injustice, hence the shirt.”

The bit was immediately criticized on Twitter, where users pointed out that the message was insensitive in a year when police killings have been under increased scrutiny.

Cyrus ended the ceremony with a performance of Dooo It!, the opening track to her new collaborative album with The Flaming Lips: Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz. It is available free online.

She was asked to host in spite of her controversial performance at the 2013 awards where she twerked with Robin Thicke on stage and was accused of cultural appropriation.

Cyrus told the New York Times that the VMAs producer, Van Toffler, encouraged her to go crazy because he stepped down from his post as MTV CEO in April and “can’t get fired”.

“He was like, ‘I want to do something crazy – I want you to host the VMAs, because I want that to be my last shebang,’” Cyrus said.

The first award of the night was presented during to the pre-show to Fall Out Boy, who won the best rock video for their track Uma Thurman. Several other awards were handed out before the show even began, including best pop video for Taylor Swift’s Blank Space.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Amanda Holpuch in New York, for theguardian.com on Monday 31st August 2015 05.35 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010