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Kanye West Finally Explains His Slavery Comments and Why He Supports Trump
Part of what made Kanye West’s baffling comments about race and politics so confusing was the complete lack of context. Fans didn’t know why West had suddenly become a Trump supporter or what he meant when he said slavery is a choice. Even West’s closest friends and collaborators couldn’t figure it out. At the time, Talib Kweli told me that the real Kanye was the one who said he didn’t intend for his statements to hurt anyone.
In a lengthy interview with the New York Times, West echoes that thought, saying, “I’m a person that does not intend to hurt people, never hurts people with intention.” He’s very clear that he does not support all of Trump’s policies, but simply likes the idea of a celebrity becoming president when everyone told him he couldn’t do it.
“There were people who said Trump would never win,” Kanye tells the Times. “I’m talking about the it-will-never-happens of the world, people in high school told you things would never happen … I hear Trump talk and I’m like, I like the way it sounds, knowing that there’s people who like me that don’t like the way it sounds.”
When writer Jon Caramanica asks if West likes the way it sounds when Trump says he doesn’t want to let Muslims into the country, the rapper clarifies that he doesn’t agree with all the president’s policies.
With Hillary Clinton, he said he felt like she was forced on him.
Because you’re black, because you make very sensitive music, because you’re a very sensitive soul, it was like an arranged marriage or something. And I’m like, that’s not who I want to marry. I don’t feel that. I believe that I’m actually a better father because I got my [expletive] voice back, I’m a better artist because I got my voice back. I was living inside of some universe that was created by the mob-thought, and I had lost who I was, so that’s when I was in the sunken place. You look in my eyes right now—you see no sunken place.
When it comes to his comments that slavery was a choice, West admits that he’d worded the idea the wrong way:
I said the idea of sitting in something for 400 years sounds—sounds—like a choice to me, I never said it’s a choice. I never said slavery itself—like being shackled in chains—was a choice … That’s why I went from slave to 400 years to mental prison to this and that. If you look at the clip you see the way my mind works.
It doesn’t change much, but it at least does provide some elaboration on what the hell was going through his head.
The article as a whole is a fascinating read—a portrait of an extremely erratic and polarizing artist who’s gone through some recent challenges in his life. West outlines his struggles with bipolar disorder, his thoughts of suicide, and how his wife Kim Kardashian even staged an intervention for him with Tony Robbins. None of it excuses the things West has said or done, but it at least sheds some light on the man himself and his increasingly confused headspace.