Not even Kim Kardashian can dig Kanye West out of this hole. He's been saying some pretty controversial things lately about politics, free thought, and just about everything else, but his May 1 comments might just be the craziest yet… and there might be no coming back from it. Kanye actually seemed to blame "400 years of slavery" on black people… you know, the ones that were enslaved. He took to Twitter shortly after to clarify his stance, but may have actually made it worse.
"To make myself clear. Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will," he wrote on Twitter, after saying it seemed like slavery was "a choice." "My point is for us to have stayed in that position even though the numbers were on our side means that we were mentally enslaved. They cut out our tongues so we couldn't communicate to each other. I will not allow my tongue to be cut. They hung the most powerful in order to force fear into the others."
"The Nat Turner movie never made it anywhere because it showed slaves revolting. I understand why my god brother Puff calls his network revolt. If this was 148 years ago I would have been more like Harriet [Tubman] or Nat. The reason why I brought up the 400 years point is because we can't be mentally imprisoned for another 400 years. We need free thought now. Even the statement was an example of free thought." He also included the Tubman quote "I could have saved thousands—if only I’d been able to convince them they were slaves." The problem is that Tubman never said that quote, as pointed out by Renee Gearhart Levy of Syracuse.
The clarification comes after Kanye visited TMZ, an experience he called "awesome" on Twitter. He started off by explaining where his love of Donald Trump comes from. "So many rappers… you look at a video of Snoop Dogg loving Trump, and now he gets into office and now they don't love him like, Trump is one of rap's favorite people, right?" That's when things took an intense turn that even left the hosts looking uncomfortable. "I am in hip hop, but I'm not just in hip hop. I am a black person in the black community but I'm not just that. People try to minimize me to artist, hip hop, black community. Yeah I'm always going to represent that, but I also represent the world. When you hear about slavery for 400 years… for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. Like, you were there for 400 years and it's all of y'all? It's like we're mentally in prison."
Co-host Van Lathan seemingly surprised Kanye with his passionate response to the comment. "Kanye you're entitled to your opinion, but there is fact and real-world consequence behind everything that you just said. While you're making music and living the life that you earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives. We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said for our people was a choice. Frankly, I'm disappointed, I'm appalled, and brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something that to me, is not real."
Kanye approached Van saying "I'm sorry I hurt you bro," and seemed almost dumbstruck by the confrontation. Was it enough to get through to him? Only time will tell. In the meantime, fans are just beyond done. "The same man who went off on @RealSway about racism in the fashion industry had the audacity to make asinine claims today. Just like your struggles to break free of control in the fashion industry. Our ancestors struggled to do the same against a system of slavery," said one fan. Another said, "Ayo, this man Kanye said slavery was a choice. I wasn’t 100% sure at first, but it’s a fact that this dude has lost his mind for sure." "I just watched a video of Kanye saying slavery was a choice. I'm sorry but how can anyone support this man?" asked another.
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