Trouble calling for Kanye Image: Facebook
Rapper Kanye West, who has been making headlines with his controversial tweets in support of President Donald Trump, has sparked yet another controversy by suggesting that 400 years of slavery was "a choice".
Kanye was invited by TMZ to talk about his recent tweets, free thought and Trump when he made the controversial comments, which have received massive backlash.
"When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You were 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," he said.
"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," the pop icon added.
In the footage released by TMZ, Kanye is then shown addressing the newsroom. "Do you feel that I'm being free and I'm thinking free?"
TMZ reporter Van Lathan, visibly angry, confronted the rapper, saying, "I actually don't think you're thinking anything. I think what you're doing right now is actually the absence of thought."
Lathan told Kanye that he was "unbelievably" hurt by his comments even though the rapper was entitled to his opinion. "You're entitled to believe whatever you want. But there is fact and real-world, real-life consequence behind everything that you just said. And 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," Lathan said.
"We have to deal with the marginalisation that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said, for our people, was a choice. 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," he added.
Kanye's comments were met with anger and incredulity by artistes and civil rights activists alike.
Rapper Will.i.am told Good Morning Britain that the comments were "ignorant" and "broke my heart ... when you're a slave, you're owned... that's not choice, that's by force."
.@kanyewest #slavery vs #prisons— will.i.am (@iamwill) May 2, 2018
its not & never was by choice.
This wickedness was done by force & strategic conditioning.
& education deprivation is at the root.
The fact that the USA builds prisons & not schools, is not our choicehttps://t.co/eCSLcypo5W
A choice is when there are options...— will.i.am (@iamwill) May 2, 2018
Please tell me the options our ancestors had???
Enlighten me please... https://t.co/HZOhl3So4n
You obviously don’t know the conditions in the hood...A proper investment on education is a human right... zoning in our ghettos so that healthy opportunity is on every corner... we didn’t chose our zoning... we didn’t chose the conditions we live in... please enlighten me. https://t.co/zAzGwiBUDt— will.i.am (@iamwill) May 2, 2018
There were lots on slaves that revolted & they were lynched or shot & raped, physically, psychologically with spiritual warfare that is still present today... to say that was their choice is to blame it all on our ancestors & it Disrespects their suffering... https://t.co/XhLAFV9Kh8— will.i.am (@iamwill) May 2, 2018
Civil rights activist Deray McKesson said Kanye "continues to fuel the racist right-wing folks who believe that black people are responsible for their oppression".
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay tweeted: "I've had it with @KanyeWest + @RKelly using the imagery of lynching as rebuttals re: their dastardly behaviour. Evoking racial terrorism and murder for personal gain/blame is stratospheric in is audacity and ignorance. This is what lynching looked like. How dare they?"
I’ve had it with @KanyeWest + @RKelly using the imagery of lynching as rebuttals re: their dastardly behavior. Evoking racial terrorism and murder for personal gain/blame is stratospheric in is audacity and ignorance. This is what lynching looked like. How dare they? pic.twitter.com/wfobcdjiKL— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 2, 2018
After the controversy, Kanye, 40, took to Twitter to clarify his comments, stating that it's high time people "have open discussions and ideas on unsettled pain".
we need to have open discussions and ideas on unsettled pain— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 1, 2018
the universe has a plan. I knew that TMZ would be awesome.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 1, 2018
we are programmed to always talk and fight race issues. We need to update our conversation.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 1, 2018
in school we need to learn how magic Johnson built his business not always about the past. Matter fact I've never even heard of a high school class that presents future ideas— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 1, 2018
when the media masses and scholars talk about what started today. Here's a title ...— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 2, 2018
the overground hell road