Before the last one had a chance to simmer down, Kanye West caused another stir, calling American slavery a “choice” in an interview Tuesday.
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years, for 400 years, that sounds like choice,” West said on “TMZ Live” after questions on his pro-President Donald Trump posts and pictures that caused a dust-up last week. “You was there for 400 years, and it’s all of y’all?”
West's words have become talking points and social media fodder for far-right commentators including right-wing radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Jones, who often calls for violence, threatens to crack jaws and advocates for a second civil war in the United States began posting quotes from the rapper on his Instagram account.
West is quoted saying, "Self-victimization is a disease," in a post with the logo of Jones' show "Info Wars." Many in the African American community in the U.S. have voiced disappointment with West's recent political statements and his embrace of Trump.
Jones is well-known for his statements which are aimed at racial unrest, on April 24th he claimed, "The real KKK at the midlevel is a bunch of racist black people who hate black people.”
“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.
West also doubled down on his love of the president, which Trump has been returning in tweets.
“I just love Trump,” West said, adding that most in hip-hop agreed with him before Trump became president. “Trump is one of rap’s favorite people.”