Kanye West attempts to clarify controversial slavery 'a choice' comments
The rapper has sparked criticism after another round of controversial remarks.
Kanye West has suggested 400 years of slavery “sounds like a choice” in another set of controversial remarks.
The rapper faced criticism for his latest comments which come after he recently returned to Twitter where he has shared support for President Donald Trump.
West, 40, was taking part in TMZ Live inside the US outlet’s offices where he also revealed he had been addicted to opioids which led to him being treated in hospital in 2016 after having liposuction.
He said: “When you hear about slavery for 400 years … for 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 in prison. I like the word prison because slavery goes too direct to the idea of blacks. It’s like slavery, Holocaust. Holocaust, Jews. Slavery is blacks. So, prison is something that unites us as one race. Blacks and whites being one race. We’re the human race,” he added.
The comments sparked an immediate response from TMZ writer Van Lathan who was seen confronting West in a snippet posted online.
The musician was shouting across the office: “Do you feel that I’m feeling … do you feel that I’m being free and I’m thinking free?”
Lathan stood up and told the Stronger rapper: “I think what you’re doing right now is actually the absence of thought.
“Kanye, you’re entitled to your opinion … You’re entitled to believe whatever you want, but there is fact and real world, real life consequence behind everything you just said. And while you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you’ve 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.
Lathan said he was “disappointed”, adding: “I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something, to me, that is not real.”
Kanye last night attempted to clarify his comments.
"To make myself clear. Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will," Kanye began. "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."
Kanye, who has frequently caused scandals since returning to Twitter last month (Apr18), then stated that his intention had been to raise a "new idea" with the remark.
"We are programmed to always talk and fight race issues. We need to update our conversation," he continued. "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. It was just an idea... once again I am being attacked for presenting new ideas."
In the course of his interview with TMZ, West also spoke about his liposuction, revealing he was “drugged the f*** out” when he met with then president-elect Donald Trump in 2016.
He said he became addicted to opioids doctors had prescribed after the liposuction which led to him taking more pills during his Life Of Pablo tour which was cut short in November 2016 when he was admitted to hospital.
Earlier he had shared a video interview, recorded on March 18, with US radio DJ Charlamagne on Twitter, in which he was asked about having a “mental breakdown” in 2016.
He also spoke about how the robbery of his wife Kim Kardashian West in Paris in 2016, during which she was held at gunpoint at a private residence, affected him.
When asked where he is mentally, West told Charlamagne: “I think I’m in a stronger place than I ever was. After the breakdown, or I like to say, the breakthrough.”
On what he thinks caused it, West said: “Fear, stress, control, being controlled, manipulation, like being a pawn in a chess piece of life, stressing things that create, like, validation, that I didn’t need to worry about as much.”