On Tuesday, Kanye West spoke with TMZ on a variety of topics, one of which has garnered him incredible backlash:
When you hear about slavery for 400 years – for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. Like, you was there for 400 years, and it’s all y’all? You know, like, it’s like we’re all mentally imprisoned. I like the word “prison” [because] “slavery” goes too direct to the idea of blacks. It’s like “slavery,” “Holocaust” – “Holocaust” is Jews, “slavery” is blacks. So, “prison” is something that unites us as one race. Black and whites being one race, that we’re one race. That we’re the human race.
Later, TMZ’s Van Lathan pushed back, telling Kanye:
I actually don’t think you’re thinking anything. I think what you’re doing right now is actually the absence of thought, and the reason why I feel like that is because, Kanye, you’re entitled to your opinion; you’re entitled to believe anything you want, but there is fact, and real world, real life consequence behind everything that you just 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 has 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 that, to me, that’s not real.
Tuesday evening, Kanye sent out some tweets in order to further explain his position:
Kanye’s statements have sparked intense debate on social media — some in agreement with the rapper, and others deeply troubled by his remarks.