How Sway? Here Are 7 of Kanye West’s Most Controversial Moments (So Far)

Kanye West said "George Bush doesn't care about black people" — that was only the beginning. Check out Ye's most controversial moments.


Feb. 23 2024, Published 5:06 a.m. ET

Controversial rapper Kanye “Ye” West has become known for his outlandish antics. Throughout his career, the “Vultures” lyricist has made headlines for his bold statements, provocative actions, and unapologetic personality.

From award show outbursts to Twitter rants, here's a look back at some of the most controversial moments that have defined Kanye’s legacy.

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"George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People" (2005)

Following Hurricane Katrina, Kanye made headlines during a live telethon for victims of the disaster when he famously declared, "George Bush doesn't care about Black people.” The statement sparked widespread debate, prompting NBC to release a statement condemning the rapper’s remarks.

Taylor Swift Incident at the MTV Video Music Awards (2009)

kaney taylor vmas speech
Source: Getty Images

Kanye West (L) jumps onstage as Taylor Swift accepts her award for the "Best Female Video"

In what some consider the most famous moment in VMA history, Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for Best Female Video in 2009. Kanye stormed the stage, taking the microphone away from the pop star.

“Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish,” Kanye said. “But Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!”

Beyoncé stood shocked in the audience while Taylor waited for Kanye to finish his rant.

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Support for Donald Trump (2016-2020)

During the 2016 presidential election and throughout Donald Trump's presidency, Kanye unapologetically voiced his support for the controversial leader. Kanye’s public embrace of Trump included wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, and a widely publicized meeting at the White House.

“They tried to scare me not to wear this hat, but it gives some power in some way,” Kanye told Trump during their meeting (per CNBC). “When I put this hat on, you made me Superman.”

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Interrupting Beck's GRAMMY Win (2015)

kanye interupts beck grammys
Source: Getty Images

Kanye West avoids contact with an inviting Beck after Beck won Album of the Year

Much like the infamous Taylor Swift incident, Kanye once again stole the spotlight at the 2015 GRAMMY Awards. He rushed the stage as musician Beck was accepting the award for Album of the Year for his record, Morning Phase.

Although West did not interrupt Beck's speech, he later spoke out against the Recording Academy.

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The Infamous 'Sway in the Morning' Interview (2013)

When Kanye appeared on Sway Calloway’s SiriusXM show, the rapper unleashed a torrent of frustration and anger.

He went on a tirade expressing his frustration with the entertainment industry and his desire to break into the world of high-end fashion. Kanye’s outburst, including his now-iconic phrase, "You ain't got the answers, Sway," went viral immediately.

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The "Saint Pablo Tour" Tirade (2016)

kanye on saint pablo tour
Source: Getty Images

Kanye West performs during "The Saint Pablo Tour."

During the Sacramento stop of his "Saint Pablo Tour," Kanye shocked fans when he delivered a fiery speech about the music industry.

“This ‘Saint Pablo’ tour is the most relevant [thing] happening,” Kanye said. “If your old a-- keeps following old modes, your a-- is going to get Hillary Clintoned. You might not like it, but you need to hear it.”

The concert ended abruptly after the rant, leaving fans puzzled.

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"Slavery was a choice" (2018)

Kanye’s appearance on TMZ in 2018 sparked a lot of conversation about the GRAMMY-winner rapper’s mental health. During his interview, Kanye suggested that slavery was a "choice" for African Americans. The comments received a ton of backlash, and many called for Kanye to be canceled.

He later apologized for his remarks and revealed that he was suffering from a bipolar episode when the incident occurred.

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