Monday 16 July 2018

‘400 years of slavery sounds like a choice’: How people responded to Kanye West

The rapper appeared on celebrity news outlet TMZ and discussed his love for Donald Trump, free thought and slavery.

Rapper Kanye West (Jonathan Brady/PA Images)
Rapper Kanye West (Jonathan Brady/PA Images)

By Isabel Togoh, Press Association

Kanye West has stirred up more controversy by suggesting that four centuries of the enslavement of African Americans was a “choice”.

The rapper appeared on celebrity news outlet TMZ this week to do a live interview in which he discussed his love for his “bro” Donald Trump, free thought and slavery.

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years, 400 years? That sounds like a choice. Like, you was there for 400 years, and it’s all of y’all? It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned,” the 40-year-old said.

Millions of African people were forcibly bought and sold to the Americas by European traders between the 16th and 19th century, ripping families and cultures apart.

Soon after West’s comments, Twitter users satirised what generations of subjugation, mistreatment and racism might look like with the hashtag #IfSlaveryWasAChoice.

West’s comments, which follow days of contentious tweets including West’s support of Trump and conservative figure Candace Owens, did not go unchecked.

Van Lathan, TMZ writer and host of The Red Pill podcast was quick to hit back at West following the broadcast, after the Yeezy designer announced to the office: “Do you feel that I’m being free, and that I’m thinking free?”

“I actually don’t think you’re thinking anything,” Lathan replied.

Lathan urged the rapper and designer to “be responsible” following his musings which he said were “absent of thought”.

“There is fact and real world, real life consequence behind everything that you just said,” Lathan told West.

“While you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you’re 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 marginalisation 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 to me, that’s not real.”

West later clarified his comments on Twitter, saying the statement was “an example of free thought”.

The Life Of Pablo artist, who has been posting one-line thoughts to Twitter, recently shocked fans after he posted a picture of himself wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.

He addressed the picture with lyrics in his new song Ye vs The People, in which he claimed he was giving Trump’s slogan a “new direction” while people were “questioning his methods”.

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MTV Video Music Awards 2016 – Show – New York

Some are suggesting that West’s recent tirades are a publicity stunt for his upcoming album next month.

Press Association

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