Kanye West held his first campaign rally on Sunday, two weeks after announcing that he would run for president as an independent candidate, leaving many people confused and audibly bewildered by his ramblings.
West held the event in Charleston, South Carolina as part of a campaign to get on the ballot in the state as a write-in candidate in November. At one point, he said that famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman “never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people,” a comment that led one attendee to say audibly over the Facebook webcast, “OK, we’re leaving now.”
Kanye West crying on stage at his campaign event in South Carolina pic.twitter.com/GsHAnZQG1c
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Kanye West’s speech jumped from one topic to another with little connection between them. At one point, the rapper broke down in tears when discussing abortion, saying that his mother stood up against his father’s wishes when he pushed for an abortion while she was pregnant with him. “There would have been no Kanye West — because my dad was too busy,” he said.
The rapper also said that he wouldn’t challenge pharmaceutical companies because “they would kill” him and that he opposed gun control because “shooting guns is fun” and that the U.S. could be “enslaved” by China without firearms.
At other points, West got into some tense moments with people in the crowd, forbidding the attendees from clapping at any time and ejecting one person for unclear reasons. He also yelled at a “TMZ corporate media reporter” that he said was only there to “f— my rally up.”
Kanye West’s comments have been met with concern on social media, with some fans fearing that he is having a mental breakdown. He has said in multiple interviews that he has bipolar disorder but refuses to be medicated and was hospitalized for a “psychiatric emergency” in November 2016 after going on a lengthy rant during a concert.
For now, West is only on the November ballot in one state, Oklahoma, where he paid a $35,000 fee to be added in lieu of gaining 35,592 required petition signatures. The deadline to be added to the November ballot has passed in several U.S. states, while others have deadlines set in August and September.