Kanye West Talks About Slavery: "400 Years? That Sounds Like a Choice"

By Sam Valorose

May 1, 2018

Kanye West appeared for a taping of TMZ Live alongside founder Harvey Levin that quickly turned tense. Yeezy, who has caused a firestorm for his support of Trump, far-right personalities, and wearing a "Make American Great Again" hat, declared that slavery sounded "like a choice." 

"When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice," West said. "Like, you was there for 400 years and it's all of y'all? It's like, we're mentally in prison."

“I like the word prison because slavery goes too direct to the idea of blacks,” the rapper explained. “It’s like slavery, holocaust. Holocaust, Jews, Slavery is blacks. Prison is something that unites us as one race. Blacks and whites being one race.”

 "Right now we're choosing to be enslaved," the rapper continued. 

A member of TMZ's staff, Van Lathan, then called out Yeezy and took him to task for his comments. “I actually don’t think you’re thinking anything,” Van said. “I think what you’re doing right now is actually 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 life consequence behind everything that you just said,” Lathan continued. “While you are making music and being an artist, and living the life that you’ve earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives.”

“We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from 400 years of slavery that you said, for our people, was a choice,” he added. “Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled, and brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something, to me, that’s not real.”

Also during his appearance on TMZ Live, the rapper revealed that he had been hooked on opioids after liposuction. He announced this to the entire newsroom at TMZ, saying, "I got liposuction because I didn't want y'all to call me fat like y'all called Rob (Kardashian) at the wedding and made him fly home before me and Kim got married." 

Kanye's interview with Charlamagne Tha God was also released today (May 1). The two talked about his mental health, his views on Trump, his relationship with JAY-Z and more. Watch below: 

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