As Jay-Z and Kanye West triumphed over Beyoncé for Video of the Year honors at the 2012 BET Awards, Jay had a little acceptance-speech interruption in mind.
After receiving honors for the Maybach-torching, Spike Jonze-directed “Otis” clip from their 2011 album Watch the Throne, the stage was set for a callback to West’s most infamous awards-show moment.
“Excuse me, Kanye, I’mma let you continue, but … ” Jay joked to Kanye while passing the microphone. Eruptive crowd laughter ensued as Jay referenced West’s microphone snatch from Taylor Swift to defend Beyoncé at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Beyoncé’s reaction this time was one of uproarious laughter and clapping.
“I’m trying to defend your girl!” Kanye joked back.
When the win was announced, Jay threw a few fake punches at Beyoncé in a playful show of affection and competition between hip-hop’s royal couple. In contrast, he tapped Kanye’s current love, Kim Kardashian, on the shoulder on his way to the stage when she went in for a hug.
Kardashian continually smiled back at West, who focused his thoughtful speech on political correctness and thanking BET for the honors. “Thank you, BET, for allowing us to push the envelope. The awards make sense sometimes if something is really, really good. We put in a lot of work, a lot of hours, a lot of sleepless nights.”
’Ye said he views being an established artist with the same urgency and commitment to quality that he started out with. “We don’t take it lightly. It’s like being a new artist every day. … Everybody knows we put in so many hours to bring you the best product possible,” he said. “We don’t take for granted the opportunity that y’all have given to us.”