More than three months since his controversial comment on slavery, Kanye West has issued an apology.
In early May, the Grammy-winning rapper sent the Internet ablaze after an interview with TMZ, in which he said, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years—for 400 years? That sounds like a choice.”
The comment immediately sparked headlines everywhere and incited backlash with colleagues and fans publicly voicing their criticism of the star’s outlook. In a lengthy interview with WGCI 107.5 on Wednesday, West took a moment to address the public in regard to that comment.
“I don’t know if I properly apologized for how that slave comment made people feel, so I want to take this moment right now to say that I’m sorry for hurting, I’m sorry for the 1-2 effect of the MAGA hat into the slave comment and I’m sorry for people who felt let down by that moment,” he said into the microphone.
“And also I appreciate you guys giving me the opportunity to talk to you about the way I was thinking and what I was going through and what led me to that and I just appreciate you guys holding on to me as a family.”
“One thing I got from the TMZ comment is it showed me how much black people love me and how much black people count on me independently,” West continued. “I appreciate that.”
Elsewhere in the interview, West elaborated further on what he had said. “I said, ‘400 years—it sounds like a choice to me, to Kanye West,” he told the hosts.
Noting he is not a historian, West continued while mentioning Harriet Tubman and Nat Turner. “To me, when I hear about anything of an entire group of powerful people being held captive for 400 years, it sounds like a choice to the spirit of Kanye West, which I think is aligned with the spirit of Harriet Tubman, which I think is aligned with the spirit of Nat Turner, which, in my non-historical opinion, I feel that these are examples from the past of people who felt similar to that even if it was worded incorrectly in the white man’s tongue. Maybe I could have danced or maybe I could have spoken Swahili and spoken the actual language because even the fact that we’re having to have this conversation in English is a form of slavery because it’s not even our tongue, it’s not even our language.”
“That feeling, that emotion, that ramped-up feeling, that medium connection with spirituality that we got to witness on TV,” West continued. “The fact that I could take that bullet and be like, ‘Oh, he’s crazy, he’s crazy.'”
BAHE / BACKGRID
In addition to his apology and reflection on the slavery comment, West also got the change to answer a question previously posed to him by Jimmy Kimmel earlier this month.
“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 late-night host asked him at the time, though the show cut to commercial quickly after.
Co-host Kendra G reiterated the question to the star, asking, “Do you feel as though Donald Trump cares about all people—black people included?”
“I feel that he cares about the way black people feel about him and he would like for black people to like him like they did when he was cool in the rap songs,” West thoughtfully responded after taking a pause. “He will do the things that are necessary to make that happen because he’s got an ego like all the rest of us and he wants to be the greatest president and he knows that he can’t be the greatest president without the acceptance of the black community, so it’s something that he’s gonna work towards, but were gonna have to speak to him.”
Co-host Kendra G quipped back, “I need to go with you to the White House. I got a couple things I got to say.”
“Exactly,” West added. “But at least now…you can go.”