American rap star and G.O.O.D Music & Yeezy brand boss Kanye West has sparked outrage among Black cultural activists, musicians and fellow black people around the world, following the controversial comment made during his interview with TMZ, whereby he was seen saying that ” Black Slavery ” in the olden was a ” Choice ”.
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” West told the TMZ newsroom. “Like, you were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all?” “It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned,” he added.
What Mr West is trying to says was that Black Slavery was a ” choice ”, as he try to defend himself on the point he made.
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” Kanye West said in an interview. Black people were forcibly taken from Senegal, Gambia, Senegal, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire to the U.S. during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and sold as slaves – just the thought of this being a choice is appalling.
An employee confronts him
Kanye tries to explain
West’s slavery comments highlight a deeper issue with how US history is understood
Other rappers castigated West, including Talib Kweli, who said: “I will always have love for Kanye West but bro out here putting targets on our backs. Slavery was not a choice.” Director Spike Lee urged him to “WAKE UP,” and writer Roxane Gay tweeted that West “is not a free thinker. He is a free moron who doesn’t read.”
During an interview with Good Morning Britain, musician Will.i.am also shared his thoughts. “I understand the need to have free thought, but if your thoughts aren’t researched, that is just going to hurt those that are still in conditions where it’s not choice,” he said.
Twitter users started the hashtag #IfSlaveryWasAChoice to share their thoughts about Kanye’s comments, with some sharing jokes and others seeking to educate the rapper on why his comments were off base. Historians participated as well.
“Slavery wasn’t their choice at any step,” Blair L.M. Kelley, an associate professor at North Carolina State University, tweeted, referring to Africans who were captured and forcibly brought to the US as slaves. “Denigrating their lives at this point for attention and spare change is such an embarrassment,” she added.
He then compared himself to Willie Lynch, a slave owned who was said to have delivered a speech about controlling black slaves by turning them against one another (historians have doubted whether the speech was ever made).
“Kanye vs the media is modern-day Willie Linch [sic] theory,” he wrote.
Actor Wendell Pierce, best known for his role as Bunk in The Wire, said: “To use the murder and holocaust of slavery for your own self aggrandisement is at the core of your vile appeasement of white supremacists.”
West has previously made comments about slavery in his music, including New Slaves, where he suggested a modern kind of mental enslavement by consumer culture. He did receive support from rapper the Game, who tweeted: “Kanye is a genius. People who’ve never achieved greatness are not allowed to question it.”