Kanye West Suggests Slavery Was a "Choice" in TMZ Visit

Kanye West TMZ - Screengrab - H 2018

In clip from the rapper's visit to 'TMZ Live,' West touched on a number of topics, but spent a chunk of time talking about Donald Trump and what a big fan he is of the president.

Kanye West raised some eyebrows on Tuesday in the TMZ newsroom, and upset at least one employee, when he suggested slavery was a "choice." 

In clip from the rapper's visit to TMZ Live, West touched on a number of topics, but spent a chunk of time talking about Donald Trump and what a big fan he is of the president. 

"I just love Trump. That's my boy," West declared at one point in the visit. "So many rappers [used to] love Trump, but then he get into office, and now they don't love him. Trump is one of rap's favorite people."

At another point in his visit, while talking with Harvey Levin and Charles Latibeaudiere, West made a comment in which he suggested that slavery was a "choice." 

"When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice," he said with a chuckle. "Like, you were there for 400 years and it's all you all?"

He immediately went into, "It's like we're mentally imprisoned. I like the word 'imprisoned' because slavery goes too directly to the idea of blacks ... so prison is something that unites us as one race. Blacks and whites being one race. That we're the human race." 

The TMZ interview follows a series of controversial tweets the rapper sent last week in which he called President Trump his "brother" and said that they both possessed "dragon energy." The rapper has doubled down on his comments multiple times on Twitter since, and has been posting reactions to his tweets from friends including John Legend.

In a different section of the Tuesday show, West addressed the entire newsroom, asking all, "Do you feel that I am being free and I am thinking free?" 

A TMZ employee responded that he was hurt by West's comments about slavery and warned of the weight that the rapper's words carry with the public. The clip cuts out as West is telling the staffer he is sorry he hurt him. 

Later on Tuesday, West clarified his comments on TMZ, tweeting, "to make myself clear. Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will." He added in a second tweet, "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 continued on in subsequent tweets about how "they can no longer stop our voice."

On Wednesday, he deleted all of his tweets on the subject. 

The Trump campaign has capitalized on his comments, using West's support in the advertising copy for "Make America Great Again" hats.

Staff writer Katie Kilkenny contributed to this report. 

Watch the clips below: 


May 2, 1 p.m.: Updated with the information that West deleted a number of tweets.