Over the years, Kanye West has been in and out of the media for being outspoken and making controversial statements. In May 2018, West made comments about slavery being a choice and fans were in an uproar on social media. West made these statements on TMZ Live.
On the season 15 finale of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kim Kardashian reportedly discusses her husband’s slavery comments, but TMZ has come out to say that Kardashian’s explanation of the situation, on the show, is inaccurate. TMZ later reported that Kardashian’s explanation was cut from the episode.
So, what did West actually say? According to TMZ, West stated, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years, for 400 years??? That sounds like a choice. You were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.”
TMZ employee Van Lathan confronted West at TMZ headquarters and, CNN reported that Van Lathan said, “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 marginalization that’s come 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 appeared remorseful over the situation as he was confronted by Lathan and seemed to feel bad about how his comments were taken. After the confrontation, West took to Twitter to explain himself, telling followers, “[T]o 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 … 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.”
According to People, West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, was hysterically crying after West’s slavery fiasco. In a clip of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, she revealed, “I rushed home, I was hysterically crying. So I go home … he’s totally fine … When he gets ramped up, he can’t control what he says, he can’t let it go. He loves being ramped up. He’s like ‘I feel powerful when I’m ramped up. I don’t want to be so suppressed. Yeah, I say crazy shit but I’ve always said crazy shit. That’s why I’m Kanye.'”
A couple months after the incident, West gave an interview on 107.5 WGCI Chicago and further apologized. West said, “I don’t know if I properly apologized for how the slavery comment made people feel. I’m sorry for the one-two effect of the MAGA hat into the slave comment, and I’m sorry for people that felt let down by that moment.”