Kanye West took performance art and unhinged abstract thought experiments to the next level when, on TMZ, the rapper revealed his thoughts about slavery. According to CNN West said: “When you hear about slavery for 400 years…For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.” West went on to say: “You were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.”
According to Vox, TMZ employee Van Lathan was quick to provide an eloquent rebuttal: “I actually don’t think you are thinking anything. 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 400 years of slavery that you said for our people was a choice.”
West attempted to defend his comments saying: “[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.” He went on to add: “[T]he reason why I brought up the 400 years is because we can’t be mentally imprisoned for another 400 years. We need free thought now.”
West’s inflammatory rhetoric has had real consequences for the rapper. According to COS, West has increased security after Dillinger, a former member of Snoop’s Tha Dog Pound duo, issued a “Crip Alert” via Instagram on Sunday. Dillinger put out the alert in response to West’s Trump support as well as a lyric from the single “Ye Vs. The People” in he which compared gang truce with dialogue between opposing political parties.