The controversial rapper, in a TMZ Live chat Tuesday, made shocking comments about slavery that resulted in a massive backlash.
“I’m a black person, a [member] of the black community, but I’m not just that,” Kanye said. “I’m always gonna represent that, but I also represent the world.”
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years, for 400 years?! That sounds like a choice,” he argued. “We’re mentally imprisoned.”
His comments drew an instant reaction from TMZ reporter Van Lathan, who questioned the rapper’s hold on reality.
“Frankly I am disappointed, I’m appalled, and brother, I am unbelievably hurt that you have morphed into something that is not real,” he said.
Following a furore from Americans over the interview and alleged threats to his life, West has now taken to Twitter to clarify his comments, saying: “We need to have open discussions and ideas on unsettled pain… to make myself clear. 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,” he added, before comparing himself to Willie Lynch, a slave owner who is said to have delivered a speech about controlling black slaves by setting them against each other.
“They cut out our tongues so we couldn’t communicate to each other. I will not allow my tongue to be cut… they hung the most powerful in order to force fear into the others… they can no longer stop our voice”.
Also comparing himself to slavery abolitionist Harriet Tubman and rebel slave Nat Turner, West added: “We are programmed to always talk and fight race issues. We need to update our conversation.”
“The 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.”
“Once again I am being attacked for presenting new ideas,” he later tweeted. “I’ve never even heard of a high school class that presents future ideas”.