John Legend has spoken about Kanye West’s decision to leak a private message he sent last night, saying he was “shocked” when he saw the screenshot of the text online. He also argued that West “sees aspects of himself” in Donald Trump.
The text in question concerned West’s comments this week about supporting Trump. Legend had pleaded with West to not let his support for Trump tarnish his “legacy”.
Speaking to Hot 97’s Ebro Darden, who also had text messages leaked by West, Legend said: “I was shocked when it happened… at least I didn’t say anything that I didn’t want people to know that I thought.”
He went on to talk about why he believed that he had to contact West over his support for Trump.
“Racism isn’t just some abstract thing that you talk about, it has actual effects on human beings,” Legend said, criticising Trump’s policies on deportation, the ‘Muslim ban’, and his controversial hiring of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.
“All of these things, they’re not a game. They’re people’s real lives and if you’re operating from love… and you’re looking at what this man is actually doing, I don’t see how you can align yourself with that,” he said.
Legend also spoke about what he thinks is the reason for West supporting Trump. “I think when Kanye talks about Trump, I feel like he’s thinking about him more as a marketing triumph. I think he see certain aspects of himself in Trump and he sees how brash he is and how he don’t give a fuck… I think that’s appealing to Kanye,” he said.
In another interview later in the day, Legend also suggested that West had become out-of-touch with ordinary people. “Sometimes we have the luxury to be insulated and when politicians do bad things that affect a lot of ordinary people, they don’t affect us in the same way.
“We don’t feel that pain so we have more luxury to just align ourselves with whoever.”
Legend’s comments came on the same day that Chance the Rapper apologised for defending West on Twitter. In a statement, Chance said that his defence was “poorly-timed” and said that he would make up for it with “immediate action and advocacy for those who need it most”.
Words by Conrad Duncan