— Elliott Wilson (@ElliottWilson) May 1, 2018
Kanye West once famously said he doesn’t read books. It may be time for him to renew that library card, because his latest “free thoughts” are infuriatingly uninformed. During his promotional appearance on TMZ Live, which was already rife with potential for hot take quotes from the newly Trump-loving Kanye, the mercurial entertainer said a thing that may just resurrect all those Sunken Place memes while lending them a lot more credence.
“You hear about slavery for 400 years. 400 years?! That sounds like a choice.”
“Like you was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all?!” pic.twitter.com/T5I8XUgImk
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 1, 2018
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years, that sound like a choice,” Kanye stated, to the bewilderment of even TMZ Live host Harvey Levin. “You was there for 400 years and it’s all of ya’ll?” he questioned, as if he somehow missed the section in his high school history book about slave uprisings and Black abolitionists and the Underground Railroad.
One of TMZ’s staffers, Van Lathan, who is often one of the more outspoken members of the newsroom when the show airs, took deep offense to Kanye’s words, calling him out and telling him just how dangerous his statements were.
“I think what you’re doing right now is actually the absence of thought,” Lathan countered. “Kanye, you’re entitled to your opinion… but there is fact and real life, real-world consequence behind everything you just said. While you are making music and being an artist the rest of us have to deal with these threats to our lives and deal with the marginalization that comes from the 400 years of oppression that you said for our people was a choice. Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled, and brother, I’m unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something that’s not real. You gotta be responsible.”
While it appeared that Kanye tried to make amends, Lathan wasn’t having it before the clip cut off. For what it’s worth, it’s about time someone called out Kanye in public. While many of his peers and friends have apparently reached out in private, this probably won’t be the end of his alt-right cheerleading. Now that the floodgates of criticism have opened in earnest, perhaps Kanye’s self-established aura of invincibility can be chipped away and someone can help get him understand the context of what he’s saying before he does anymore damage to himself and his legacy.