- Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters
- Rapper Kanye West said on “TMZ Live” on Tuesday that 400 years of slavery “sounds like a choice.”
- People were shocked, confused, and angry at West on social media.
- A TMZ employee told West, “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.”
- It is the latest in a recent series of controversies for West, who has made headlines for his support of President Donald Trump.
Kanye West, who has made extensive headlines recently with his support of President Donald Trump, sparked serious backlash Tuesday in an interview with “TMZ Live” in which he suggested that slavery was a “choice” for black people in the US.
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years – for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. Like, you were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all … It’s like we’re mentally in prison,” West said.
He went on to say that he liked the term “imprisoned” over “slavery,” because “slavery goes too direct to the idea of blacks.”
“Prison is something that unites us as one race, blacks and whites as one race,” he continued. “That we’re the human race.”
Many were shocked and angry about West’s comments. Here were a few reactions from Twitter:
Kanye got people believing slavery was a choice. Kanye West. Slavery. A CHOICE. Our ancestors were insulted, sold, raped, beaten, etc. all because they chose to be. I don’t usually let celebrity banter get under my skin but he did it.
— bb. (@brandon_17k) May 1, 2018
Kanye West said slavery was a choice. If you are still hanging on, you need to unclasp your hands and allow yourself to fall.
— Carrot Cake Stan Account (@AsiaChloeBrown) May 1, 2018
Kanye West is fucking wilding on tmz live right now …. bruh said 400 years of slavery was a choice ????????♀️????????♀️ I love him but be bout to be cancelled
— khaleesi ✨ (@Jaydekta) May 1, 2018
How does one respond to such stupidity?
— Mutaz Elnour (@MutazElnour) May 1, 2018
I never thought I'd ever be retweeting TMZ or Kanye West, but saying 400 years of slavery was a choice?
Whether you want to see A Quiet Place or Avengers: Infinity War is a choice.
Chattel slavery was not a choice. https://t.co/6ceTjN4q4J
— Mark Pitcavage (@egavactip) May 1, 2018
— P. Hudson (@lechiccurls) May 1, 2018
Later on in the video, West addressed the entire TMZ newsroom and asked, “Do you feel that I’m being free and I’m thinking free?”
TMZ’s Van Lathan stood up.
“I actually don’t think you’re thinking anything,” he said. “I think what you’re doing right now is actually the absence of thought. Kanye, you’re entitled to your 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.”
Lathan continued: “The rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives. We have to deal with the marginalization that comes 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.”
West later approached him to say, “I’m sorry I hurt you.”
The “TMZ Live” clip is below. West’s comments about slavery begin at the 1:15 mark: