In an interview with The New York Times, Kanye West opened up to interviewer Jon Carimanica about comments he made over the past few months which were deemed racist and ignorant. Among many of the wild statements made by West, the most notable are his embrace of President Trump and his belief that slavery is a “choice.”
Reflecting on his choices, West was very comfortable sharing his struggle with mental health over the last year and a half. After being hospitalized in early 2017, West was medicated for Bipolar Disorder and has been medicated since. However, he shared with Carimanica proudly that he “learned how to not be on meds,” taking “only one pill in the last week.”
In the weeks leading up to the Wyoming listening party for “Ye,” West turned to Twitter to share some of his controversial thoughts, including that he and President Trump were kindred spirits with the same “dragon energy.” He told Carimanica, “I felt that I knew people who voted for Trump that were celebrities that were scared to say that they liked him. But they told me, and I liked him, and I’m not scared to say what I like. Let me come over here and get in this fight with you.”
West explained that being a successful person of color has led to a lot of expectations regarding what his political beliefs should be. But embracing his fearlessness, West was proud of his unique perspective. In particular, West expressed disdain for social pressure to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and noted that his choice to vote for Donald Trump let him “reclaim his voice,” leading to success in his field.
In regards to Trump’s policies, West made it clear that he does not agree with everything, especially on immigration issues.
West also addressed his slavery comments, explaining that it was a poor choice of phrasing. He told Carimanica, “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. 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.”
Overall, West was very confident about his ability to speak his mind, and especially unafraid of losing black fans over his statements. Underlying this feeling is the premise that artists and fans can agree to disagree, which should not stop anyone from enjoying thought-provoking art.
If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.