Kanye West defended himself in a wide-ranging New York Times profile amid the backlash for his support of President Trump and his controversial comment that slavery “sounds like a choice.” Attempting to frame his Trump endorsement in a wider context, he compared what he felt was a societal pressure to vote Democrat to an “arranged marriage.” He continued, “Man, I had my [expletive] [expletive] castrated: ‘You have to like Hillary. That’s got to be your choice.'”
The rapper-producer elaborated that the “world” was telling him to vote against Trump “because you’re black, because you make very sensitive music, because you’re a very sensitive soul.” He added, “And I’m like, that’s not who I want to marry. I don’t feel that. I believe that I’m actually a better father because I got my … voice back; I’m a better artist because I got my voice back. I was living inside of some universe that was created by the mob-thought, and I had lost who I was, so that’s when I was in the sunken place. You look in my eyes right now – you see no sunken place.”
While noting he “[doesn’t] agree with all [Trump’s] policies,” the Ye rapper noted that speaking his mind – along with “getting out, learning how to not be highly medicated” – has aided in that mental shift.
“Just standing up saying I know I could lose a lot of things, but just standing up and saying what you feel, and not even doing a lot of research on it,” he said. “Having a political opinion that’s overly informed, it’s like knowing how to dress, as opposed to being a child – ‘I like this.’ I hear Trump talk and I’m like, I like the way it sounds, knowing that there’s people who like me that don’t like the way it sounds.”
West also dismissed the notion that he should feel “pressure” to speak on behalf of an entire group of people. “It’s a rhetorical dumbass question … but do you think there are a lot of husband-and-wife situations where the husband in the household liked Trump and voted on Trump and maybe the wife didn’t, or vice versa?” he said.
Elsewhere in the piece, West attempted to clarify his recent remarks to TMZ about slavery, explaining that he constantly “adjusts” his language to get to the core of an idea. “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,” he said. “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.”
When The New York Times asked how West would re-frame his “slavery” comments if given another chance, West admitted he “wouldn’t frame a one-liner or headline.” But he also pushed back, saying, “What I would say is actually it’s literally like I feel like I’m in court having to justify a robbery that I didn’t actually commit, where I’m having to somehow reframe something that I never said. 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. 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.”