Kanye West made a surprise appearance on a Chicago radio station Wednesday, and spoke about his mental health, competition in the music industry and his support of President Donald Trump.
In May, West appeared on “TMZ Live” and said, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.”
The comments led TMZ’s Van Lathan to call him out, saying, “I don’t think you’re thinking anything. I think what you’re doing is the absence of thought. Kanye, you’re entitled to your opinion, you’re entitled to believe whatever you want. But there is fact and real-world, real-life consequence behind everything that you just said.”
Rolling Stone reported that West’s first response to the remarks in the 107.5 WGCI interview were defensive. West said he made those comments when speaking from his spirit’s perspective, Consequence of Sound reported.
“It sounds like a choice to me. I’m not a historian, I’m Kanye West. And to me, if I hear about an entire group of powerful people being held captive for 400 years, it sounds like a choice to the spirit of Kanye West — which I think is aligned with the spirit of Harriet Tubman — which I think is aligned with the spirit of Nat Turner. In my non-historical opinion, I feel these are examples from the past from people who felt similar to that…
“Even if it was worded incorrectly, in the white man’s tongue — maybe I could have danced or I could have spoken Swahili — because even the fact that we’re having to have this conversation in English is a form of slavery. It’s not even our language, bro.”
West was pushed more on the subject by WGCI’s Kendra G., who tearfully expressed how the rapper’s comments affected her as she looked to West to speak for African-American people. He then apologized.
“I have never really approached or addressed the slavery comment fully,” he said. “It’s not something for me to overly intellectualize, ‘cause this ain’t nothing to be smart about. This is about the fact that it hurt people’s feelings, and the way I presented that information.
“I’m sorry for the one-two of the MAGA hat into the slavery comment. And I’m sorry for people who felt let down by that moment. And also I appreciate you guys giving me the opportunity to talk to you about the way I was thinking and what I was going through. I just appreciate you guys holding on to me as a family. And one thing I got from the TMZ comment—I learned how much black people love me.”
Other topics West spoke about are below:
On mental health and the “TMZ Live” interview: “If you deal with someone that’s bipolar, that’s ramped up. They might say something that’s their truth, that’s how they feel, in a way that’s not going to make you feel comfortable…
“The people who were around and are starting to make money, they just didn’t care about me as much. Because Kanye West was an entity, a money-making machine, and you get into that situation and you don’t have people that are continuously looking out for your best interests at all costs. Because I even had people that was with me at TMZ that could have stopped it. That could have said, ‘Yo, this is going too far.’”
On reconnecting with longtime friend Don C: “I believe that the downfall of Kanye West is directly related to (street wear designer and former tour manager) Don C not being around,” he said.
On Trump caring about African-Americans: “I feel that he cares about the way black people feel about him, and he would like for black people to like him like they did when he was cool in the rap songs,” he said. “He’s got an ego like all the rest of us, and he wants to be the greatest president, and he knows that he can’t be the greatest president without the acceptance of the black community.”
On improving himself: “I promise you, you’re going to see a new Ye,” West said, according to Billboard. “You're going to feel the impact of the new relationships and the new ideas and the exposure that I’ve gathered. It's about to be applied now.
“It’s going to be a new Kanye West, and it’s going to be better,” he said. “It’s going to be better because of this mental health situation. It’s going to be better because of this TMZ situation.”
The WGCI interview airs in two parts, according to the radio station’s Twitter page. The second part airs Thursday.