Just 24 hours after upstaging country-pop star Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech at the MTV VMAs, Kanye West apologized for the incident in an emotional interview Monday night on the debut episode of The Jay Leno Show.
Kanye was on the show to perform Jay-Z’s “Run This Town” alongside Hova and Rihanna, but, in light of the day’s events, West decided to sit down with Leno to address the VMAs incident, which has fomented backlash and debate among viewers and both artists’ fans.
“It’s been extremely difficult, just dealing with the fact that I hurt someone or took anything away from a talented artist, or from anyone,” Kanye explained. “I’ve only wanted to help people my entire life, I’ve only wanted to give… I knew immediately in this situation that it was wrong, and it wasn’t a spectacle. It’s actually someone’s emotions that I stepped on. It was rude, period. I’d like to apologize to her in person.”
Kanye, who was swigging from a bottle of Hennessey throughout the MTV awards show, told Leno he knew he was in the wrong, “as soon as I gave the mic back to her and she didn’t continue.”
Leno, in what some fans have called an unfair probe at the rapper, asked Kanye what his mother would think of the incident, had she not died in 2007 from complications during a plastic surgery operation. “Would she have given you a lecture?” asked Leno. After a brief moment of silence, in which ‘Ye was visibly shaken, the Chicago-bred rhymer confessed, “I’m ashamed that my hurt caused someone else’s hurt.”
Before joining Jay-Z and Rihanna, Kanye closed by explaining that he needs a break from music to sort himself out. “I need, after this, to take some time off and just analyze how I’m going to make it through the rest of this life, how I’m going to improve…. If there’s anything I can do for Taylor in the future, or help anyone.”
WATCH: Kanye Apologizes on Leno