Kanye West is under fire for comments he made about slavery during a sit-down with TMZ on Tuesday.
During the interview, the 40-year-old rapper touched on his love for President Trump, his recent tweets, and one point said slavery “sounds like a choice.”
Kanye West stirs up the TMZ newsroom over TRUMP, SLAVERY and FREE THOUGHT. There’s A LOT more that went down … and the fireworks are exploding on @TMZLive today. Check your local listings for show times. pic.twitter.com/jwVsJCMPiq
— TMZ (@TMZ) May 1, 2018
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years?! That sounds like a choice. Like, you were there for 400 years and it’s all of you all? You know, it’s like we’re mentally in prison. I like the word prison ’cause slavery goes too — too direct to the idea of blacks,” he said in the interview. “So prison is something that unites us as one race, blacks and whites being one race. We’re the human race.”
“Do you feel like I’m thinking free and feeling free?” West asked the TMZ employees in the room.
“I actually don’t think you’re thinking anything,” TMZ’s Van Lathan quickly cracked back at West, as many would in the ensuing hours.
Lathan said while West gets to live the elite artist’s life, “the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats in 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 our choice.”
Symone D. Sanders, political commentator and CNN contributor, led the anti-West chorus on Twitter.
“Kanye is a dangerous caricature of a ‘free-thinking’ black person in America,” Sanders tweeted. “Frankly, I am disgusted and I’m over it. Also (I can’t believe I have to say this): Slavery was far from a choice.”
Others put it more briefly. “Slavery wasn’t a choice,” Russ Bengtson tweeted, “but listening to Kanye is.”
West also told TMZ that he became addicted to opioids that doctors prescribed after he had liposuction surgery in 2016. He was hospitalized for a week and had to cut short his “Pablo” tour. West said the painkillers drove him to a “breakdown,” which became a “breakthrough” when he found himself again.