Next on Kanye West's plate? Slavery. The acclaimed rapper finds himself in hot water following his statement on slavery sounding "like a choice."
It's been a rough couple of weeks for the 40-year-old rapper as he gets heat for various controversial statements on Twitter, including an unwavering appreciation for President Donald Trump. However, it doesn't look like West is stopping anytime soon.
West On Slavery
The hip-hop artist dropped by TMZ Live on Tuesday, May 1 to double down on his love for the president, pointing out that he doesn't just represent hip-hop or the black community, but the world. The explanation took a strange turn with West segueing into the subject of slavery.
"When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years?! That sounds like a choice," West says. "Like, you was there for 400 years and it's all y'all? It's like you're mentally imprisoned."
Unsurprisingly, his statement wasn't taken too kindly by a good chunk of people, including TMZ staffer Van Lathan who stood up to voice his disappointment on West's thoughts, saying he believes what the rapper is doing "is an absence of thought."
While Lathan allows that West is entitled to his opinion, he adds that there are facts and real world consequences to what he says every day.
"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," Lathan tells the rapper. "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."
Kanye's Charlamagne Interview
West's TMZ visit came just hours after the rapper released his nearly two-hour interview with Breakfast Club's Charlamagne tha God. The lengthy conversation allowed an intimate peek at West's mind.
At one point, West talked about Trump, saying that the fact that he became president meant that anything is possible in America.
"Racism isn't the deal-breaker for me," he says. "If that was the case, I wouldn't live in America. In this gated community, I deal with racism."
West took to Twitter to clarify the thoughts he expressed in TMZ, explaining that he didn't exactly mean that his ancestors became slaves by choice.
to make myself clear. Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will — KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 1, 2018
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 — KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 1, 2018
The rapper went on to rant about getting attacked for his "free thought."
if this was 148 years ago I would have been more like Harriet or Nat — KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 1, 2018
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 — KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 1, 2018
once again I am being attacked for presenting new ideas — KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 1, 2018
Of course, fellow Twitter users used the platform to slam West — as well as praise Lathan for having the guts to stand up to the famous rapper.
kanye says slavery is a choice. It was the "choice" between slavery or certain death. How is that a choice? How can he be so very ignorant? This will be my last kanye-related tweet bc he's not gonna turn it around. I will no longer acknowledge kanye west. — A-Train (@aaronLebeahm) May 1, 2018
The word slavery implies the absence of choice. I don’t think our ancestors “chose” to be in bondage anymore than they “chose” to leave their homes in Africa. @kanyewest is a brilliant artist, but a despicable and disturbing human being. You should be ashamed of yourself. — Jake Lawler (@Jakelawler42) May 1, 2018
Imagine if Steven Spielberg said that the Holocaust never happened. That's what @kanyewest just did with Black history. — DJ Vlad - VladTV.com (@djvlad) May 1, 2018
Just gotta pray for Kanye.. — Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) May 1, 2018
Kanye’s grandfather was a civil rights leader who started taking his mom to sit-ins as a child. His father was a Black Panther in the 60s. How the hell can he say "slavery was a choice"? I just don't understand. — Denizcan James (@MrFilmkritik) May 1, 2018
It’s clear w/this @kanyewest shit that way too many confuse “free thinking” with “critical thinking”. You’re free to think but if it isn’t critical, you’re still a slave to someone’s ideology.
Everything kanye’s been ranting about is completely devoid of logic & intelligence. — Jerk Nowitzki (@WHUTUPDOE) May 1, 2018
.@VanLathan wanted to explode. I’ve been there. But with precision and composure he embodied what Baldwin said, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” — Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) May 1, 2018
My brother @vanlathan on @TMZ doing God’s work. He didn’t utter one lie to @kanyewest gotta get them to have a conversation later...... — Charlamagne Tha God (@cthagod) May 1, 2018