Kanye West took back some of his controversial comments after he brazenly declared that slavery sounds to him like it was “a choice” during a contentious TV appearance.
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sound like a choice,” West said during an interview for “TMZ Live” Tuesday. “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,” the rapper explained. “It’s like slavery, holocaust. Holocaust, Jews, Slavery is blacks. Prison is something that unites us as one race. Blacks and whites being one race.”
When asked to clarify, West responded, “Yeah, right now we’re choosing to be enslaved.”
The 40-year-old artist made headlines last week when he proclaimed on Twitter that President Trump is his “brother” and that they share “dragon energy.” He also wore a “Make America Great Again” hat in a Twitter photo and later showed that the cap was signed by Trump himself.
West explained Tuesday why he felt inspired to share the tweets about Trump.
“It was really just my subconscious,” he told TMZ. “It was a feeling I had. You know, like, people, we’re taught how think, we’re taught how to feel. We don’t know how to think for ourselves. We don’t know how to feel for ourselves. People say feel free, but they don’t really want us to feel free. I felt a freedom in, first of all, just doing something that everybody tells you not to do.”
He went on to say, “I just love Trump,” during the interview and pointed out that Trump was popular subject matter for hip hop artists before he became President.
His appearance at the TMZ office escalated after he asked staff members whether they believed he was “being free” and “thinking free.”
TMZ reporter Van Lathan then retorted that he believes that West’s behavior lately has actually displayed an “absence of thought.”
“There is fact and real-world, real-life consequence behind everything that you just said,” Lathan told the rapper, who looked serious as he listened on. “While you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives.
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“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,” he said. “Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled and I am unbelievably hurt that you have morphed into something, to me, that is not real.
West then walked over to Lathan and said he was “sorry” he hurt him.
Hours after the interview, West went back to Twitter with a retraction.
“To make myself clear, of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will,” he tweeted. “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.”