On Wednesday afternoon, Kim Kardashian West and her mother Kris Jenner took the stage at the New York Times’ Dealbook Conference in Manhattan. Interviewed by Andrew Ross Sorkin, the pair spent half an hour discussing their rise to monolithic cultural status and the attendant businesses that came with it. In the audience was Kanye West, snapping pictures of his wife from his seat.
Then, West received a microphone himself.
What has being a member of the Kardashian-Jenner business empire taught him? “If my family wasn’t so omnipresent, maybe I would just rest on my laurels of being the greatest artist in human existence,” West replied.
He then proceeded to monologue for five minutes, hewing closely to the talking points he’s trotted out in lengthy interviews preceding the release of his latest album, Jesus Is King. “Social media — every time I get asked a question I have a thought about it — I’m not saying it’s as particularly negative as cigarettes,” he said. “If I post a hundred posts they say ‘Oh, he needs to go to the hospital, he’s going crazy,’ but Instagram and different social media companies, they have the likes come back at a slower speed, they have a certain amount of posts that you should do to look normal. It’s actually controlling the rate at which we’re supposed to communicate and advance, as human beings.” (West did not seem to be aware that the next speaker on the Dealbook lineup was Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom.)
The rapper also discussed his newly affirmed faith in Christianity (he’s described Jesus Is King as a gospel album; it was as his first full-length to avoid any profanity). “In my perspective, Jesus has already won the victory,” he said. “It’s for me as a man who’s a Christian, as a billionaire, as a founder of a $3 billion company, to stand up and be — and this has to be stated, because Forbes chose to call me a centimillionaire, but when I show them the receipts, $890 million last year, it wasn’t funny to me,” he said, to laughter.
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He also announced that the family is “starting a church,” but did not provide additional details on the venture.
Another topic West didn’t shy away from was President Donald Trump, with whom West has been associated for much of the past two years. “We have 12,500 acres in Cody, Wyoming, and Trump,” he said — putting special emphasis on the name — “has actually opened up the ability to buy more land in America. In America you can buy land, and we can be owners. We don’t have to be just the product of what Black Twitter tells us what we’re supposed to do.”
“My father was a Black Panther and my mother was arrested for the sit-ins at age six, to fight for the right for us to vote, but it was the right to vote for who we tell you to vote on,” he said, after alleging this information was always cut from other interviews. “It’s OK that any black man voted for Hillary. But if a black man didn’t vote for Hillary, you’re a coon.”
Amid growing confusion in the audience of CEOs, strategists, and startup founders, West continued: “My parents fought for us to have the right for us to have our own opinion. Sometimes on social media, they can even put false comments, 6 or 7 in, to try to incept, indoctrinate, and try to control our minds and how the masses think.”
“We learned a lot,” Kardashian said, once West relinquished the microphone.