Taylor Swift had a full circle moment at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday night (30Aug15) when she stepped up onstage to present Kanye West with the 2015 Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
The pop star recalled meeting the rapper for the first time "at this show actually" when he interrupted her Best Female Video acceptance speech in 2009 to protest on behalf of his pal Beyonce, who was nominated for the same prize.
Ironically, Swift picked up the same award this year (15), for her Blank Space promo - and she took to the stage at the Microsoft Theater to honor her one-time music enemy.
She said, "It seemed like everyone in the world knew about our infamous encounter at the VMAs, but something that you may not know is that Kanye West's album College Dropout was the very first album that my brother and I ever bought on iTunes when I was 12 years old."
She went on to praise West for recording his first album tracks with his jaw famously wired shut, for "studying the craft and the art of fashion" and "even learned to sew before launching his own line".
Swift added, "I have been a fan of his since I can remember because Kanye defines what it is to be a creative force in music, fashion, and, well, life."
The Bad Blood singer then had a little fun by firing back the words West used when he interrupted her very first VMAs acceptance speech back in 2009, saying, "I guess I have to say to all the other winners tonight, I'm really happy for you and I'mma (sic) let you finish..." adding, "Right now I am honored to present the 2015 Vanguard Award to my friend Kanye West."
A humbled West hit the stage to a lengthy standing ovation and chants of "Kanye" and "Yeezus" as Swift joined his pregnant wife Kim Kardashian in the front row, and, after soaking up the moment, the beaming rap star said, "Listen to the kids...! Taylor, thank you for being so gracious and giving me this award this evening."
He then got serious and addressed his reputation as a villain, stating, "I often think back to the first day I met you. I think about when I'm in the grocery store with my daughter and I have a really great conversation about fresh juice... and at the end they say, 'Oh you're not that bad after all'.
"It crosses my mind a little bit, like, when I go to a baseball game and 60,000 people boo me... and I think, 'If I had to do it all again, what would I have done? Would I have worn a leather shirt? Would I have drank a half a bottle of Hennessy (cognac)... If I had a daughter at that time, would I have went onstage and grabbed the mic from someone else's (hand).'
"After that night the stage was gone but the affect that it had on people remained... The problem was the contradiction. The contradiction is I do fight for artists, but in that fight I somehow was disrespectful to artists, I didn't know how to say the right thing, the perfect thing. I just sat at the Grammys and saw Justin Timberlake and Cee Lo (Green) lose... I'm not trying to put Justin on blast, but I saw that man in tears. And I was thinking, 'He deserved to win Album of the Year!'"
West's rambling acceptance speech turned into an attack on MTV bosses as he asked, "You know how many times MTV ran that footage again, because it got them more ratings? You know how many times they announced Taylor was gonna give me the award, because it got them more ratings? Listen to the kids, bro!
"I still don't understand awards shows. I don't understand how they get five people who work their entire life... sell records, sell concert tickets, to come, stand on a carpet and for the first time in their life be judged on a chopping block and have the opportunity to be considered a loser.
"I just wanted people to like me more, but f**k that, bro!"
West ended his lengthy speech by stating, "And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president."
The rapper then confessed he smoked "a little something" to "knock the edge off" before he stepped up onstage.
Earlier in the evening, Swift attempted to end another rift when she joined Nicki Minaj for the rapper's opening performance at the VMAs. The two women briefly feuded on social media earlier this summer (15) when Swift took offense to comments Minaj made after her Anaconda failed to land a Video of the Year mention at the MTV prizegiving. The two hitmakers have since made up.