During the September 2018 episode, West, who was booked as the episode’s musical guest, performed songs with Lil Pump and Teyana Taylor. For his final performance of the evening, he sparked controversy by donning a red Make America Great Again hat during a rendition of ‘Ghost Town’ with Kid Cudi, Ty Dolla $ign and 070 Shake.
After the show drew to a close, West remained on stage and gave a speech in which he expressed support for Donald Trump. “So many times I talk to a white person about this and [they] say: ‘How could you like Trump? He’s racist.’ Well, if I was concerned about racism I would’ve moved out of America a long time ago,” West said. He added that he had been pressured not to wear the MAGA hat onstage.
Now, comedian Redd – who exited the SNL cast earlier this year after half a decade on the show – has discussed the incident. In a new interview with The Daily Beast, Redd revealed that West’s speech was not spontaneous.
“I remember the dress rehearsal where he tried his dress rehearsal version of that, and I heard it, but there was music playing still so people were like sitting there and vibing,” Redd explained.
“But I was listening to his words, and I was like, bro, he’s about to pull some bullshit. And I’m not about to be on stage for that. I’m not going to entertain this. Like, I’ve been a fan of Kanye my whole life. And I miss the old Kanye,” the comedian continued.
“But he came in there wanting to shoot everybody – verbally – and I just felt that was disrespectful, because we’re all grown adults. And now all of us don’t like you. He just came in there with a chip on his shoulder, ready to talk shit.”
West has not returned to SNL since his 2018 appearance, but he was the subject of a recent skit on the show that riffed on his failed attempt to strike a deal with Skechers. Given West’s recent string of controversies, it’s not expected that he’ll be invited back on the show any time soon.
Early last month, the rapper sparked backlash when he wore a shirt that read “White Lives Matter” during his Yeezy show at Paris Fashion Week, proceeding to reiterate those sentiments multiple times.
Since then, West has had his Instagram and Twitter accounts restricted for making antisemitic posts, made further antisemitic remarks in unaired footage from a Fox News interview, and made false claims about the murder of George Floyd while appearing on a now-removed episode of the Drink Champs podcast.
West’s behaviour has resulted in widespread condemnation and professional consequences. The likes of John Legend, Kim Kardashian, Eric André, Jack Antonoff, KISS‘ Paul Stanley, Howard Stern, Diddy and Ice Cube are among the high-profile figures who have spoken out about West’s comments. Fashion brands Balenciaga and Adidas both ended partnerships with the rapper, with the latter significantly impacting West’s net worth.
Additionally, West was reported to have been dropped by his lawyer and talent agency, an episode of LeBron James’ talk show The Shop that was set to feature an interview with West was pulled, his bank JPMorgan Chase severed ties with him. Athletes Jaylen Brown and Aaron Donald left West’s Donda Sports agency, his Yeezy products were removed from Gap stores, and his Donda Academy closed.
Last week, West returned to Twitter, declaring that he’s taking a month-long “cleanse” and “verbal fast”, during which he’ll refrain from sex, porn and alcohol.