Kanye West has never been a man to bite his tongue, and his concert stop in Belgium on Sunday night was no exception. At the Vorst Nationaal in Brussels, on the second date of his Glow in the Dark Tour, West gave an impassioned speech and tribute to his late mother, Donda West.
The rapper had been relatively quite since his mother passed on November 10, having canceled a couple of appearances and choking up when trying to discuss her onstage at the tour's opening show in Paris on Saturday.
On Sunday, however, West was composed and eloquent as he delivered a touching eulogy, speaking for more than three minutes while a muted instrumental version of "Hey Mama," a song from his Late Registration album dedicated to his mother, played.
"[These songs are for] problems that we're going through ... hard times — "Who would ever have thought that these same songs would have to help me?" he is shown saying to the Brussels audience in a video widely circulated online.
The audience cheered as a video of an angel played on the screen behind the stage. "Every show, every song I do has a different meaning to me now, whether it's 'Heard 'Em Say" — 'nothing's ever promised' — 'Can't Tell Me Nothing," 'Jesus Walks," 'Touch The Sky" ... '[what] don't kill me can only make me stronger!'"
The audience erupted into applause as he continued, "People call me, they say, 'Well, you need to do this, you need to do that,' and about 50 people, a hundred people that I ain't never talked to in the past three years call me out the blue, talking about, 'I just wanna tell you that I'm giving you support and stuff.' And I appreciate the support and all that, but don't suggest what I'm supposed to do. 'What you need to do, you just need to stop touring, you need to go home and clear your head.' Go home to what, motherf-----? 'Because if they see you out, and you go outside and then the media catches it.' Man, f--- the media! Nobody can tell me anything about, you know, when they talk about celebrity lives and real lives and the difference between always being on TV — right now, you can't tell me nothing."
The crowd cheered him on as West paused at times to collect himself. The energy seemed to put a charge in him as he spoke about his mother before his band launched into a song he dedicated to her.
"And there's nothing that she loved more than to come to the shows and scream louder than any fan, because she was my first fan that was screaming before anybody else, and my first manager," he said. "If she was here, she would tell me to 'get on that stage and kill it, dawg!' That was her favorite word: dawg. She would tell me to go on this Glow in the Dark Tour and 'take over the world and be number one like I taught you to be, baby.' So I just wanna take this time out — I wanna dedicate this to my mother because the words, the lyrics to the song, it really connects to me and it really explains, and then it says exactly what she would want me to do — and that's not stop believing."
Kanye's band then launched into a cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," which of course gained new currency earlier this year when it was used in the last scenes of "The Sopranos" finale. The song was sung by one of Kanye's backing singers.
Donda West's funeral is scheduled for Tuesday in Oklahoma City. According to sources close to Kanye, he is set to attend and return to his tour to perform in London on Thursday night.