Kanye West made a surprise return to the public eye at Sunday’s BET Awards.
The hip-hop icon left viewers and the Microsoft Theater audience stunned when he took the stage to pay tribute to longtime friend Diddy for his Lifetime Achievement honor.
Kanye stayed incognito with a full-coverage face mask, sunglasses and a baseball cap, and recalled in a lengthy speech how much his friendship with the legendary mogul has meant to him over the years.
“I go to him for advice to this day. He inspires so many of my choices, so many of my life choices. My wife choices,” Ye said, apparently referencing ex Kim Kardashian.
“Thanks for that, Puff,” he added with a laugh.
The 45-year-old went on to acknowledge his intent to stay under the radar these days but felt compelled to reemerge when given the opportunity to commemorate Diddy.
“You know, I took a little hiatus. I said, I just want to declare myself legally dead for a year. I just want to be off the grid and Puff is pretty persistent, but I had to think, bro, it’s like, people get amnesia. Like I should never have Puff have to ever call more than one time,” he said, noting his pal and colleague’s loyalty.
“Any of us in this room if Puff ever need us, we need to jump and be there. This man has been through [and] survived a lot of stuff and broke down a lot of doors so we can be standing … he broke down so many doors of classism, taste, swag. Puff, if I never told you I love you, you’re my brother,” Kanye added.
The Yeezy founder’s surprise cameo follows a tumultuous few months in his personal life.
Earlier this year, he faced backlash for a series of troubling, now-deleted social media posts that targeted Kim and her boyfriend, “Saturday Night Live” alum Pete Davidson. Ye was reportedly barred from performing at April’s Grammy Awards amid the drama, despite his multiple nominations.
Since Kanye began taking a lower profile, his and Kim’s co-parenting relationship appears to have improved. On Father’s Day earlier this month, the mom of four praised her former husband as “the best dad” to their kids. Days earlier, they reunited to cheer on oldest daughter North at her basketball game.
Kim filed for divorce in February 2021 after nearly seven years of marriage.
— Erin Biglow