Kanye West suggests slavery was “a choice" in controversial TMZ interview
His comments have been widely condemned.
Kanye West has courted much controversy since his return to Twitter last month, doubling down on his support for US President Donald Trump, and vocally advocating several right wing pundits.
On Monday evening, he gave an interview to celebrity news outlet TMZ, where he suggested that the slavery of African Americans had been “a choice”. He told TMZ:
"When you hear about slavery for 400 years ... for 400 years? That sounds like a choice."
He continued, saying: "We're mentally imprisoned."
He also reiterated his support for the president, saying “I just love Trump, that’s my boy.”
Kanye West stirs up the TMZ newsroom over TRUMP, SLAVERY and FREE THOUGHT. There's A LOT more that went down ... and the fireworks are exploding on @TMZLive today. Check your local listings for show times. pic.twitter.com/jwVsJCMPiq
— TMZ (@TMZ) May 1, 2018
The comments have been widely condemned. TMZ’s Van Lathan confronted West directly in the studio.
He has also face much criticism on social media.
Don’t usually get caught up in commenting about stuff like this but I saw what Kanye West said and I was ASHAMED. 400 Years of slavery a CHOICE???? Really! All I’ll say is this: I’m incredibly proud of that staffer from TMZ. Brilliant, Eloquent & totally appropriate response.#WTH
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) May 2, 2018
FYI, we’re not denigrating/making fun of our ancestors. We’re just pointing out the ludicruous nature of Kanye (and white supremacists) subscribing to the idea slavery was optional + the erasure of our ancestors’ frequent revolts & uprisings during the time#IfSlaveryWasAChoice
— X (@XLNB) May 2, 2018
Trust your intentions. Appreciate your transparency, and commitment to authenticity. But it’s getting dark when you’re implying that what held back enslaved people was a mentality—it was a fixed and reinforced power structure, and when you wear that red hat you reinforce the same
— Brendan McGuirk (@BrendanMcGuirk) May 1, 2018
West later tweeted about his comments, including using a discredited quote from abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman.
Someone really needs to stop Kanye from tweeting these fake quotes that never existed. Very Trumpish and it is dangerous because dumb people believe and racist people don't care if it is true or false. Quote has been used by racist people for decades it is entirely made up. https://t.co/0gMEi7YXC0
— Robert Littal (@BSO) May 2, 2018