He says he's "being attacked for presenting new ideas"
Kanye West has taken to Twitter to clarify controversial views he recently expressed about slavery.
On Tuesday (May 1), West appeared in a TMZ Live chat, revealing that he was addicted to opioids after getting liposuction and making comments about slavery that resulted in a backlash.
“I’m a black person, a [member] of the black community, but I’m not just that,” Kanye said. “I’m always gonna represent that, but I also represent the world.”
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years, for 400 years?! That sounds like a choice,” he argued. “We’re mentally imprisoned.”
At one point, TMZ reporter Van Lathan confronted Kanye about his views, saying: “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. 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.”
Van added: “Frankly I am disappointed, I’m appalled, and brother, I am unbelievably hurt that you have morphed into something that is not real.”
Now, West has tweeted to clarify his comments, saying: “We need to have open discussions and ideas on unsettled pain… 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,” he added, before comparing himself to Willie Lynch, a slave owner who is said to have delivered a speech about controlling black slaves by setting them against each other (it’s worth noting that many historians doubt the speech was ever made).
Kanye continued: “They cut out our tongues so we couldn’t communicate to each other. I will not allow my tongue to be cut… they hung the most powerful in order to force fear into the others… they can no longer stop our voice”.
Also comparing himself to slavery abolitionist Harriet Tubman and rebel slave Nat Turner, West added: “We are programmed to always talk and fight race issues. We need to update our conversation.”
“The reason why I brought up the 400 years point is because we can’t be mentally imprisoned for another 400 years. We need free thought now. Even the statement was an example of free thought. It was just an idea.”
“Once again I am being attacked for presenting new ideas,” he later tweeted. “I’ve never even heard of a high school class that presents future ideas”.
See Kanye’s tweets in full below.
This comes follows a big video interview between Kanye and Charlamagne. Check out the best bits from that here.
West’s new album will be the follow-up to 2016’s ‘The Life Of Pablo’. Here’s everything we know about the release so far.