Kanye West came under fire in May when he put on a MAGA hat, posted for a picture, and then told employees at the TMZ offices that slavery was a “choice” before sharing his support for President Donald Trump. On Thursday night, West appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! where they attempted to speak further about West’s political views.
“I feel dragon energy in the air,” Kimmel said during his monologue, referring to his upcoming interview with West later in the show. The appearance was scheduled just one week after Kimmel talked to West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West.
Kimmel started off the interview with a lighthearted question, asking if West would be willing to design uniforms for Trump’s new “space force” program. “I’m into designing,” West said.
Kimmel then asked if West was worried about his wife privately meeting with Trump in the Oval Office to which West jokingly replied, “Well, he is a player.”
Then Kimmel shifted gears, asking the question that has been on a lot of people’s minds. “Do you think he is a good president?”
West didn’t answer the question directly, choosing to talk about “two main motivating factors” in life: “love and fear.”
Here’s West’s rambling answer that both makes sense and makes no sense all in the same breath. Basically, a typical West response.
“You can’t explain love,” he said, noting that someone can do a “bad thing,” and you can still “love” them.
“Everyone around me tried to pick my candidate for me. And then told me every time I said I liked Trump that I couldn’t say it out loud or my career would be over, I’d get kicked out of the black community because blacks are supposed to have a monolithic thought, we can only be Democrats.”
“It took me a year and a half to have the confidence to stand up and put on the hat [The red MAGA hat he wore in his photo), no matter what the consequences were… And what it represented to me is nothing about policies, because I’m not a politician like that, but it represented overcoming fear and doing what you felt, no matter what anyone said, in saying, ‘You can’t bully me.’ Liberals can’t bully me, news can’t bully me, the hip-hop community, they can’t bully me. At that point, if I’m afraid to be me, I’m no longer Ye. That’s what makes Ye.”
Here’s the full interview:
West didn’t really answer Kimmel’s question but maybe that was the point. West loves to stir up controversy and speak his mind. He’s often touted by critics and fans for his brilliant music making and he’s never really dipped his toes into the political space outside of some musical references.
Perhaps Kanye West really was just trying to make a point with his hat, but his comments about slavery, none the less, were ill-guided and unapologetic — just like the rest of West’s career in the spotlight.
In the end, we don’t know if West supports a President who attacks the free press, women, immigrant families, and others, but his point about making personal choices in the face of adversity is spot on. Without freedom of choice, even when ill-guided, our representative democracy would be non-existent.
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.