Kanye West Speaks at School's Fashion Show: 'When You're the Absolute Best, You Get Hated on the Most'
By Rosalyn Oshmyansky
Kanye West is not teaching anymore, but he's still inspiring students.
After a scuffle with the paparazzi in 2013, the rapper was given and completed 250 hours of community service by teaching at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College in the fall of 2014 -- but even after those hours were up, he stayed on as a volunteer mentor. And on May 29, he came back to give some more advice at the college's Gold Thimble Fashion Show, held each semester.
Though the College Dropout rapper gets grief for being notoriously serious and straight-faced, West was an enthusiastic guest, sitting front row on the campus runway and smiling and applauding the fashions that the graduating students created. The 37-year-old then gave a rousing 10-minute speech that rivaled that of the most inspiring commencement speakers.
"I'm really honored to be here tonight around so many creative people, so many dreamers. As a lot of you know, I really love fashion, and it's been a love of mine as far back as I can remember," West began his speech. "It's something that I've always had to fight to be accepted to love, and I empathize with anyone who has ever loved fashion because it's not like loving the idea of being a lawyer or becoming a doctor."
He celebrated designers and artists who "are as close to who they were as when they were 4 years old," he said, "or when my daughter wakes up and decides to change her career seven times a day."
The "All Day" singer than admitted that "it was really all but impossible" for him to make the transition from music to fashion. "People always try to box you in to what they know you best for," he stated.
LATT is a public community college celebrating its 90th anniversary, and counts among its alumni Project Runway winner Jeffrey Sebelius.
"The average celebrity designer -- their fingers don't get bloody," West said. "They don't pick up needles. They don't know how to sew. I can pin a little bit. I respect people who have taken their time to really learn and hone a craft."
West was met with thunderous applause when he shared a warning about what they should expect.
"It's a tough world out there," he said. "You're going to prepare yourself for politics, bad bosses, hating employees -- and usually when you're the absolute best, you get hated on the most."
He did not end his words of wisdom on a negative note, though. "Never stop fighting no matter what anyone says," he encouraged the students. "If it's in your gut, your soul, there's nothing, no worldly possession that should come between you and your expression."
One of West's students, Rene Camarillo, told ETonline how eager students were to work with him.
"As designers, we're supposed to understand our client -- so basically he was our client and we had to fulfill his needs. He was very minimalistic as far as colors and silhouette, and he looked at every student's portfolio and gave feedback on what he liked and what he didn't like. He also judged the finalized garment." West was very pleased with the students' work, Camarillo said, and one even got to intern with him.
Remaining focused on his own dreams, West is working on a new album and most recently posted a sweet tweet on May 25 for the "girl of his dreams" in honor of his one-year wedding anniversary to Kim Kardashian.