Kanye West finally speaks out on his slavery comments in new interview
If there's one celebrity out there who fits the description of "controversial" better than any other, it's Kanye "slavery-was-a-choice" West. He's married to a Kardashian, he openly admires Donald Trump, and - as is evident from his Twitter feed - he's very rarely afraid to speak his mind. Basically, the guy is a magnet for anything that's likely to rile up some strong opinions.
So, when he famously claimed last month in an interview with TMZ that 400 years of black slavery in America seemed like "a choice", it was hardly surprising to see half the internet jumping on his back.
Later on, he (sort of) clarified his stance on Twitter in a series of tweets.
"[T]o make myself clear," he wrote. "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."
And then he added:
"[T]he 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. [O]nce again I am being attacked for presenting new ideas."
But now, in an interview with the New York Times, he's backtracked even further, and is claiming that he simply misspoke.
"I said the idea of sitting in something for 400 years sounds — sounds — like a choice to me, I never said it’s a choice. I never said slavery itself — like being shackled in chains — was a choice," he said. "That’s why I went from slave to 400 years to mental prison to this and that. If you look at the clip you see the way my mind works."
When asked if he'd choose to make his comments again but with the intended meaning this time around, Kanye continued to deny he'd ever said slavery was a choice.
"What I would say is actually it’s literally like I feel like I’m in court having to justify a robbery that I didn’t actually commit, where I’m having to somehow reframe something that I never said. I feel stupid to have to say out loud that I know that being put on the boat was — but also I’m not backing down, bro.
"What I will do is I’ll take responsibility for the fact that I allowed my voice to be used back to back in ways that were not protective of it when my voice means too much."
So, basically, he backpedalled his original answer by emphasising the "sounds like" part of his statement, and then continued to wind it back even more by saying he "never said" it was a choice.
What's more, Kanye remains confident that his fans will never turn against him because of his opinions. "It's not going to happen," he said. "Like yes, [we've] got a bunch of different opinions. You’re not always going to agree, but [the fans are] not going to leave."
Even after all the uproar, then, the rapper is still won't apologise for what he said. But hey, did we really expect anything else from Kanye?