Surprise Appearance at BET Awards : Kanye West

Kanye West made an unannounced appearance  three hours into the BET Awards on Sunday night to pay respect to Sean “Diddy” Combs, the show’s Lifetime Achievement award recipient.

It was Kanye’s first televised entrance since he was barred from playing at this year’s Grammys due to a series of unsettling internet statements against his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, and her boyfriend, Pete Davidson. Page Six claimed in April that the artist, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was looking into health centers for therapy in order to become a better guy and a better father.

Kanye West speech followed an elaborate performance spanning Combs’ entire career, with cameos by Mary J. Blige, and many of the other familiar faces including Diddy himself, who dedicated the first half of his 1997 hit  “I’ll Be Missing You” to Kim Porter, his fairly longtime partner and actress who died in 2018 of a lung infection. Jay-Z made a dramatic video statement, which was followed by a hilarious one from Babyface, in which he recalled Diddy haltingly but successfully taught himself to ski.

Then Kanye West got on stage, wearing a grey leather Hood by Air jacket, a matching baseball cap, shades, and a full black-stocking facial mask identical to ones he had worn in prior appearances and performances.

West related the urge to alter one’s identity in his speech: throughout the years, Combs has gone by Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, just Diddy, and most recently, just Love; this year, West officially changed his name to “Ye.” He also talked movingly of Combs’ effect on him, emphasizing that he considers himself as an artist and that Combs’ view of his whole creative and financial output as part of a whole is obvious to see.

Similarly, the crowd at the BET Awards looked as enthralled and taken aback when the Chicago rapper went up onstage after Babyface spoke about Diddy’s career. Ye sported a thrilling attire that included some wearing items catching attention which rapidly became the target of jokes and even comic-book villain analogies on Twitter.

The rest of the unscripted address was meandering and surprisingly uncontroversial, with Ye returning to his personal life and work in between complimenting Diddy for his contribution to hip hop. Of course, he couldn’t help but mention Diddy’s recent divorce, hinting that Diddy influenced his decision to marry Kardashian.

Overall, Ye’s arrival was well greeted. And internet watchers appeared to enjoy the bizarrely dressed rapper offering some meme material during an otherwise uninteresting ceremony. The reaction is a far cry from the scathing criticism Ye received at the start of the year, demonstrating once more that he is probably the most unstoppable superstar of all time.