Kanye West: I’m Not Backing Down On Slavery Comments Taken Out Of Context
It only took one appearance on TMZ Live to shift a large section of the general public against Kanye West. On the syndication show, the Chicago-raised entertainer told the world, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years, for 400 years?! That sounds like a choice.” The backlash came very swiftly.
Many fans of Kanye even declared the comments were the last straw and refused to support his new music. Two weeks ago, his Ye album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. However, in its second week of release the project’s sales dropped 65%, and by week three it was out of the Top 10 completely.
Kanye discussed his slavery statement during an in-depth feature in the New York Times. The G.O.O.D. Music founder suggested his words were taken out of context, but he refused to walk back what he said on TMZ.
“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,” said West. “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.”
When asked how he would frame his position on slavery now, Ye responded, “I wouldn’t frame a one-liner or a headline. What I would say is actually it’s literally like I feel like I’m in court having to justify a robbery that I didn’t actually commit, where I’m having to somehow reframe something that I never said. I feel stupid to have to say out loud that I know that being put on the boat was — but also I’m not backing down, bro. What I will do is I’ll take responsibility for the fact that I allowed my voice to be used back to back in ways that were not protective of it when my voice means too much.”
Despite the negative reaction from many African-Americans – such as Van Lathan, will.i.am, Snoop Dogg, Eve, Ava Duvernay, Kobe Bryant, Gabrielle Union, Stephen A. Smith, Wendy Williams, and others – Kanye stated he will never lose the support of black fans. He told the Times, “You’re not always going to agree, but they’re not going to leave.”
The interview also includes Kanye West talking about creating Ye, his use of co-writers, his marital relationship with Kim Kardashian, his admiration for Donald Trump, his decision to not back Hillary Clinton, and more.