*Kanye West gave the New York Times a wide-ranging interview in which he expressed certainty that black fans would never abandon him, despite both his admiration of Donald Trump and his comments appearing to suggest that slaves made a decision to remain in bondage.
The rapper is now saying that everyone misunderstood his infamous opinion of slaves in the U.S., which came in early May during his bizarre interview on TMZ Live.
“You hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice. Like, that was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all?” West told TMZ that day, sparking befuddlement and outrage among his fans.
He’s now opened up about the incident in for The Times, explaining that his comment was misunderstood.
“I said the idea of sitting in something for 400 years sounds – sounds – like a choice to me, I never said it’s a choice. I never said slavery itself – like being shackled in chains – was a choice,” he said. “That’s why I went from slave to 400 years to mental prison to this and that. If you look at the clip you see the way my mind works.”
Admitting that he felt “awesome” during the backlash because he was able to learn from the experience, he also explained that he found common ground with Nat Turner, the slave who led a rebellion.
“I learned so much. I learned about the context of the idea of the word slave,” West said. “I didn’t take it in that context. I think that my personality and energy mirrors Nat Turner, or it had in the past, but that showed me that also that Nat Turner approach would land me in the same place Nat Turner landed, and that I would be legendary but also just a martyr. But I guess we’re all martyrs eventually, and we’re all guaranteed to die.”
Asked if he would rephrase his slavery comment to TMZ if given the chance, Kanye revealed he has no regrets.
“I feel stupid to have to say out loud that I know that being put on the boat was – but also I’m not backing down, bro,” he stated. “What I will do is I’ll take responsibility for the fact that I allowed my voice to be used back to back in ways that were not protective of it when my voice means too much.”
Do you feel that if black fans abandon you, that’s something that you could come back from? Do you think that is a death blow?
It’s not going to happen.
It’s just not going to happen?
Like I said, wouldn’t leave. Like yes, got a bunch of different opinions. You’re not always going to agree, but they’re not going to leave.