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Kanye West talked his support of President Trump, mental health and his thoughts on wife Kim Kardashian West getting political, among other things, during his return visit to Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Thursday night.
West defended his support for Trump by explaining that he doesn’t care what people think about his actions. “Just as a musician, African-American, everyone around me tried to pick my candidate for me and then told me that I couldn’t say that I like Trump,” he said. The rapper explained that there’s this idea out there that “blacks can only be Democrats” and he added that as a result of his hospitalization in 2016 he “lost his confidence” and it took him a year and a half to say what he truly felt. “If I’m afraid to be me, then I’m not ‘Ye, that’s what makes me ‘Ye. I enjoy when people are mad at me about certain things.”
When Kimmel pushed back about Trump, citing the ongoing impact of his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy at the border and family separations, the talk-show host asked a question that left West silent, prodding Kimmel to go to commercial.
“You so famously and so powerfully said ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people.’ It makes me wonder: What makes you think that Donald Trump does, or any people at all?”
The rapper, whose latest album, ye, was released in early June, also discussed what’s next for him. At one point, Kimmel asked, “What is next for you?” While West paused, the host joked, “Space Force?” Kimmel continued, “You should design the uniforms for the Space Force. Would you do that if the president asked you?”
“I’m into designing,” West said, smiling.
Kimmel noted that West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, appeared on the show the previous week and had recently traveled to Washington to ask President Trump to issue a presidential pardon for Alice Marie Johnson. Johnson, who had been serving a life sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense, was subsequently granted clemency by Trump. “Did you discuss that with her before she did it?” Kimmel asked.
“Well she’s super passionate about it, and it was amazing for her to see that dream come true,” he responded.
“Were you ever concerned about her being alone in the Oval Office with President Trump?” Kimmel then asked. “Well, he is a player,” West joked.
Kimmel also asked West about his bipolar diagnosis, referencing the quote on his album cover (“I hate being bipolar. It’s awesome”), and if he feels it’s part of what makes him “brilliant.” West replied, “Yeah. It’s not an opposite, it actually drives more of how you really feel. It doesn’t do the opposite. So I think it’s important for us to have open conversations about mental health, especially with me being black, because we never had therapists in the black community. We never approached: Take your medication.”
He continued, “I think it’s good that when I had my first complete blackout at age 5 my mom didn’t fully medicate me because I might have never been Ye. There’s times where at least I’m happy that I know. For this interview, I knew I wanted to stay in a calm state because by the time I got to TMZ, I was ramped up. So what was awesome is that the world really got to experience someone in a ramped up state.”
When Kimmel asked if he finds himself in extreme periods of depression, West said no. “No, because I’ll just say it on TV … and then the thought is gone.” Adding, “There are some cases of bipolar where people go low, I’m one that goes high.” Adding with a smile, “Like Michelle Obama said.”
On Friday, Trump tweeted about the appearance, writing, “Thank you to Kanye West and the fact that he is willing to tell the TRUTH. One new and great FACT – African American unemployment is the lowest ever recorded in the history of our Country. So honored by this. Thank you Kanye for your support. It is making a big difference!”
West’s last appearance on the late-night talk show came in October 2013, in what was billed as an attempt to defuse a simmering social media feud between the two stars. Crazy Rich Asians star and rapper Awkwafina also appeared on the late-night show Thursday. The episode featured a hip-hop edition of Kimmel’s running Mean Tweets gag.
Watch West’s full, 21-minute appearance on Kimmel above.
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