Though it was rumored he’d already dropped out of the 2020 presidential race — only two weeks after declaring his candidacy — Kanye West held his first campaign event in South Carolina on Sunday night. It was equal parts bizarre and uncomfortable.
The rambling speech — posted to social media by some in the crowd, including reporters — was met with groans as the rapper and clothing designer made such statements as, “Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people.”
In another moment, West shared a story about how he and wife Kim Kardashian West almost had an abortion, which led to him becoming emotional about his father. With West hysterically crying onstage, the stunned crowd offered applause and shouted positive messages in an attempt to calm him. At one point, West had someone thrown out of the event for heckling, video showed. It not clear what the person said.
The surprise rally was held at the Exquis Event Center in North Charleston and was “for registered guests only.” According to ABC News, all attendees were asked to sign a COVID-19 liability release form, social distance and wear a mask.
West teased the event after taking to social media on Saturday expressing his hope to acquire signatures to get on the ballot in the state. “Hi guys please sign up to put me on the ballot in South Carolina at any of these locations,” West wrote, sharing a list of locations. “You can also sign up at the website kanye2020.country.”
That same day, West also appeared to tease his next album, DONDA, in a tweet that he has since deleted, but not before screenshots of the track list began circulating online.
West’s first rally comes shortly after the rapper announced on the Fourth of July that he planned to run for president in 2020. “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States,” West tweeted along with the hashtag #2020VISION. West reportedly got on the Oklahoma ballot earlier this week, marking his first state.
Kanye West crying on stage at his campaign event in South Carolina pic.twitter.com/GsHAnZQG1c
— STRAPPED | Hip-Hop/Rap Updates (@STRAPPEDUS) July 19, 2020