Kanye West caused a stir during an appearance on “TMZ Live” Tuesday when he said that slavery “sounds like a choice” black people made because it went unchallenged for so long.
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years?! That sounds like a choice,” West said. “You was there for 400 years, and it’s all of y’all? It’s like we’re mentally in prison.”
He later took to Twitter to clarify the statement, writing, “Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will … 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.”
West’s slavery comments came as he explained that his support for Donald Trump comes from the liberation of free thought. The musician said he felt “freedom” in tweeting that he has “love” for the president, which he likened to “doing something that everyone tells you not to do.”
West’s statements received pushback from TMZ reporter Van Lathan, who told him he is “entitled to believe whatever you want, but there is fact and real world, real life consequence behind everything you just said.”
Lathan said he was “disappointed” and “appalled” by West’s take on slavery, which he pointed out has impact on the lives of people who do not have the privilege West’s success affords.
“I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something, to me, that is not real,” he said.
West has repeatedly courted controversy in recent weeks, following his return to Twitter to promote an upcoming album.
The rapper has repeatedly praised Trump — including sharing a photo of a signed “Make America Great Again” hat — as well as other conservative figures like Black Lives Matter critic Candace Owens and “Dilbert” creator and far-right icon Scott Adams.
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