Rapper Kanye West has described slavery as a choice, praised Donald Trump for doing “the impossible” by becoming U.S. president and attributed his 2016 mental breakdown to opioid addiction, comments coming a month before the release of his new album.
In the latest in a series of startling interviews, tweets and videos, the 40-year-old musician also revealed on Tuesday he had undergone liposuction some years ago because he did not want to be called fat.
The Grammy Award-winning musician’s most controversial comments came in a rambling video interview at the Southern California offices of celebrity website TMZ.com.
West emerged from a year’s silence on Twitter two weeks ago to post up to 20 tweets an hour on topics ranging from politics, to philosophy and fashion.
At one point in the TMZ interview, shown on its website, West says, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.
“Do you feel like I’m thinking free and feeling free?” West asked the TMZ employees in the room.
“I actually don’t think you’re thinking anything,” TMZ’s Van Lathan quickly cracked back at West, as many would in the ensuing hours.
Lathan said while West gets to live the elite artist’s life, “the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats in our lives. We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said for our people was our choice.”
Amid a social media outcry, West later weighed in on Twitter.
to make myself clear. Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will
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
His comments drew reaction from the civil rights group NAACP, among others responding to what he said.
There is a lot of misinformation out there and we are happy to provide insight. Black people have fought against slavery since we first landed on this continent. Here are some resources: <a href=”https://t.co/14967crs09″>https://t.co/14967crs09</a> <a href=”https://t.co/dykrf5SDSx”>https://t.co/dykrf5SDSx</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/kanyewest?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@kanyewest</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/StayWoke?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#StayWoke</a>
Symone D. Sanders, political commentator and CNN contributor, led the anti-West chorus on Twitter.
“Kanye is a dangerous caricature of a ‘free-thinking’ black person in America,” Sanders tweeted.
“Frankly, I am disgusted and I’m over it. Also (I can’t believe I have to say this): Slavery was far from a choice.”
Kanye is a dangerous caricature of an “free thinking” black person in America. Frankly, I am disgusted and I’m over it. Also (I can’t believe I have to say this): Slavery was far from a choice.
Slavery wasn’t a choice but listening to Kanye is.
Others put it more briefly.
“Slavery wasn’t a choice,” Russ Bengtson tweeted, “but listening to Kanye is.”
I don’t have the energy for nonsense but Kanye saying slavery was a choice reiterates my previous statements about how dangerous his trite, shallow ramblings are. He is not a free thinker. He is a free moron who doesn’t read. Do not @ me.
On Tuesday, the Jesus Walks singer also gave the first details of his November 2016 admission to a Los Angeles psychiatric hospital after a series of curtailed concerts and political rants.
“I was drugged out,” he said in the TMZ interview. “Two days before I was taken to the hospital, I was on opioids. I was addicted to opioids.”
He said he was given painkillers after undergoing previously unreported liposuction surgery, adding: “I got liposuction, because I didn’t want y’all to call me fat.”
West said the painkillers drove him to a “breakdown,” which became a “breakthrough” when he found himself again.
In separate video released on Tuesday to match his new single Ye vs. the People, West discussed the support he voiced for Trump last week, which caused controversy among many of his fans.
Asked what he admired about Trump, West told fellow rapper T.I., “the ability to do what no one said you can do, to do the impossible.”
In the single, West raps lines like “Make America Great Again had a negative perception/I took it, wore it, rocked it, gave it a new direction.”
West announced on April 19 that his new album will be released on June 1.