Kanye West offended most of the liberal world this week in an interview/rant on celebrity news channel TMZ. The rapper, 40, made controversial comments including his belief that the men, women, and children captured and forced into the slave trade, were there by choice.
‘When you hear about slavery for 400 years … For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.’
The rapper went on to add:
‘You were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.’
Whether offended or amused, Kanye’s behaviour has been criticised by many due to the power he has as a celebrity to influence the public.
Kanye’s rhetoric continues to fuel the racist right-wing folks who believe that black people are responsible for their oppression.
— deray (@deray) May 1, 2018
Singer John Legend retweeted this post.
Kanye’s public support for Donald Trump via Twitter has arguably given Trump supporters and Trump himself, a defence against claims he a racist.
Last week Kanye tweeted that he loved Trump.
You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don't agree with everything anyone does. That's what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
Thank you Kanye, very cool! https://t.co/vRIC87M21X
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2018
Many celebrities and members of the public were quick to respond to the controversial comments. Musician Will.i.am gave an interview to Good Morning Britain expressing his disappointment. ‘So I understand the need to have free thought, but if your thoughts aren’t researched, that is just going to hurt those that are still in conditions where it’s not choice.’
Despite the erratic and at times nonsensical speech, there were moments of truth.
‘We are drugged out, we are following other people’s opinions. We are controlled by the media…we need to think how to think free…then we need to learn how to feel free. People always say feel free but we don’t even know how to feel free or think free. Say what you feel, positive or negative.’
He then asked an enrapt audience ‘Do you think that I’m being free, and I’m thinking free?’ to which TMZ employee Van Lathan replied ‘I actually don’t think you’re thinking anything.’
He went on to say ‘You’re entitled to believe whatever you want, but there is fact and real world, real life consequences behind everything that you just said’ to a silent West.
In an intelligent, impassioned speechthat you could be forgiven for thinking was scripted, Lathan told West that he would ‘combat your free thought with my free thought, because my free thought is grounded in reality that I have been given and a reality that I’m going to change but I’m not going to do it by pretending the enemies are on the same team as me.’
The rapper then approached Lathan on the pretense of hugging him as Lathan says ‘Your voice is too big, you’ve gotta be responsible.’
West has 28,181,783 Twitter followers and his wife Kim Kardashian has over 110,000,000 followers on Instagram. His influence and the influence associated with him is immense and whether this is a cry for help or an extravagant PR stunt, he needs to care more about the impact of his words and behavior.
Despite the serious nature of Kanye’s comments, a meme has developed on social media mocking the rapper’s remarks. The #IfSlaveryWasAChoice hashtag has taken Twitter by storm.
— Luke Lawal Jr. (@lukelawal) May 2, 2018