Bro, bro, listen to the kids. Jeremy, I gotta put it down for a second. First of all, thank you, Taylor, for being so gracious and giving me this award this evening. Thank you. And I often think back to the first day I met you also. I think about when I‘m in the grocery store with my daughter and I have a really great conversation about fresh juice at the register you know. And at the end they say, „Oh you‘re not that bad after all.“ And I think about it sometimes it crosses my mind a little bit when I go to a baseball game and 60,000 people boo me. It crosses my mind a little bit. And I think if I had to do it all again — what would I have done? Would I have worn a leather shirt? Would I have drank half a bottle of Hennessy and given the rest of it to the audience? Y‘all know you would‘ve drank that bottle, too. If I had a daughter at that time would I have went on stage and grabbed the mic from someone else‘s? You know, this arena tomorrow is gonna be a completely different set up. Some concert. This stage will be gone. And after that night, the stage was gone. But the effect that it had on people remained. The problem was the contradiction. The contradiction is that I do fight for artists but in that fight, somehow, was disrespectful to artists. I didn‘t know how to say the right thing, the perfect thing, I sat at the Grammys and saw Justin Timberlake and CeeLo Green lose. Gnarls Barkley and the FutureSex/LoveSound album, and bro, Justin I‘m not trying to put you on blast but I saw that man in tears, bro. And I was thinking he deserved to win album of the year. And the small box that we are of entertainers of the evening, how could you explain that? Sometimes I feel like you know all this shit they run about beef and all that, sometimes I feel like I died for the artist‘s opinion, for the artist to have an opinion after they got successful. I‘m not no politician bro, and look at that. You know how many times MTV ran that footage again? Because it got more ratings? Do you know how many times they announced Taylor was gonna give me this award? Because it got more ratings? Listen to the kids, bro. I still don‘t understand award shows. I don‘t understand how they get five people who work their entire life one sell records, sell concert tickets to come stand on a carpet and for the first time in they life be judged on a chopping block and have the opportunity to be considered a loser. I don‘t understand it bro. I do not understand when the biggest album or the biggest video I don‘t understand. I‘ve been conflicted bro. I just wanted people to like me more. But fuck that, bro. In 2015, I will die for the art for what I believe in and the art ain‘t always gonna be polite. Y‘all might be thinking right now, „I wonder did he smoke something before he came out here?“ And the answer is yes, I rolled up a little something, I knocked the edge off. I don‘t know what‘s gonna happen tonight what‘s gonna happen tomorrow bro but all I can say to my artists is just worry about how you feel at the time. I‘m confident I believe in myself. We the millenials bro. This is a new mentality. We‘re not gonna control our kids with brands. We‘re not gonna tech low self esteem and hate to our kids. We‘re gonna teach our kids that they can be something. That they can stand up for themselves. To believe in themselves and if my grandfather was here right now, he would not let me back down. I don‘t know what I‘m gonna lose after this it don‘t matter though because it ain‘t about me, it‘s about new ideas bro people with ideas people who believe in truth. And yes, as you probably could‘ve guessed by this moment I have decided in 2020 to run for president.
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an shameful condition. In a sense we‘ve come to our nation‘s Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked „insufficient funds.“ But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check – a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God‘s children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro‘s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, „When will you be satisfied?“ We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro‘s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our chlidren are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating „for whites only.“ We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: „We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.“ I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exhalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. This will be the day when all of God‘s children will be able to sing with new meaning, „My country ‚tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims‘ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.“ And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God‘s children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, „Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!“