Controversial statements are nothing new for Kanye West — remember that time he said that he owned someone else’s child? — but the rapper may have outdone himself this week. West paid a visit to the set of TMZ on Tuesday, The Guardian reports, where he opined on everything from President Donald Trump to the institution of slavery, the latter of which he called a “choice.”
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally in prison,” he said. “I like the word ‘prison’ because ‘slavery’ goes too direct to the idea of blacks. Slavery is to blacks as the Holocaust is to Jews. Prison is something that unites as one race, blacks and whites, that we’re the human race.”
This is on the heels of his foray into Twitter “philosophy” that already caused enough outrage when he expressed admiration for President Trump and tweeted screenshots of his conversations with John Legend.
One TMZ reporter, Van Lathan, confronted Kanye on his outrageous comments.
“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 marginalization that's come from the 400 years of slavery that you said for our people was a choice,” Lathan said. He added, “Frankly, I'm disappointed, I'm appalled, and brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something to me, that’s not real.”
In true Kanye fashion, the rapper later took to Twitter to defend his statements and bemoan the supposedly unjust attacks levied against him on social media, CNN reports.
“To make myself clear. Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will,” he wrote. “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.”
He wrote in another tweet, “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,” he added.
(Photo: Kanye West and President Donald Trump speak with the press after their meetings at Trump Tower December 13, 2016 in New York. By Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)