Kanye West adores himself, but he also looks up to Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and Taylor Swift.
That's what the controversial rapper said last night while spouting off unfiltered at the MTV Video Music Awards. Other role models he name-dropped before dropping his new video: Howard Hughes, Harry Truman, Henry Ford and, yes, himself, “West.” Because you better believe Kanye inspires Kanye.
"I know times for me, I sit down and talk to older, like, like, rich people,” West said during his six-minute rant. “You know, a.k.a. white, you know. And they tell me, 'Don't compare yourself to Steve Jobs.’” He then recalled a friend telling him that stripping away a person’s role models helps to keep “people impoverished.”
Without the right leaders to look up to, you might only look down and stay down.
But there he was on stage anyway, live on TV. Kanye West the man, the artist, the icon. Standing in front of his idol, Puff Daddy. In front of his wife, the famous-for-being-famous Kim Kardashian. All despite the odds -- and role models you might not expect a rapper from Chicago’s South Side to admire. “Bro, we are undeniably the influence, the thought leaders,” he boasted. He’s right.
Here are six other famous thought leaders, their role models and why they look up to them: