Kanye West: I think my mom would trade in every Grammy, BET award..for her son to have a doctorate
His first album was The College Dropout, but now Kanye West has finally graduated after receiving an honorary doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the same school he dropped out of at 20.
The rapper’s decision to dropout of Chicago State University, where his mother Donda West was chair of the department, had a profound effect on him. His first three albums College Drop Out, Late Registration and Graduation stuck to the college theme and West has often spoken about his regret for not completing his education.
Addressing 900 graduates on Monday, Kanye admitted that for once he was nervous.
“I don’t feel that feeling a lot, the nerves of humility and modesty when being honoured,” he said. “A humanisation a reality of being recognised. And all I thought as I sit here kind of shaking a little bit is ‘I need to get rid of that feeling.'”
Describing himself as a “pop artists,” Kanye claimed that “public opinion” is his “medium,” and that the world is his “canvas”. He said the honour from the school would help to support the message that he’s trying to put out in the world.
“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,” he said.
“It would have been easier if I could have said that I had a degree at the Art Institute of Chicago,”
Wife Kim sent a sweet message on Instagram following the ceremony and said his mother Donda, who died in 2009, would’ve been proud of him: “Dr. Kanye West!!!!!!! I’m so proud of you baby & I know your mom would be so proud too!!!! 🎓”
Talking about his mum in the speech, Kanye admitted that it would’ve been her dream to see her son receive the accolade: “I think my mom would trade in every Grammy, BET award…every single award for her son to have a doctorate.”
Kanye was chosen to receive the honorary doctorate after one of the faculty members who sits on the committee, Lisa Wainwright, read in an article that the rapper wish he’d attended the school.
“I read it and thought, ‘Wow, this is a fantastic moment.’ Here is this major figure in the cultural landscape promoting art school, this guy from Chicago saying art school is cool. So we thought, ‘This man deserves an honorary doctorate from us!’” she told the Chicago Tribune.