Kanye West has sparked major outrage after suggesting 400 years of black slavery was a “choice”.
The rapper left one TMZ employee “disappointed, appalled and unbelievably hurt” after he made the comments on one of the US website’s live broadcasts.
Kanye had appeared on the stream to discuss the recent controversy he caused when he tweeted his support for US president Donald Trump last week.
However, he ended up creating another storm with a set of shocking remarks about slavery.
He said: “When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years?! That sounds like a choice,” he said. “You was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally in prison.
“I like the word ‘prison’ because ‘slavery’ goes too direct to the idea of blacks. Slavery is to blacks as the Holocaust is to Jews.
“Prison is something that unites as one race, blacks and whites, that we’re the human race.”
One of the site’s employees, Van Lathan, was not willing to put up with Kanye’s comments, and called him out, adding he had “morphed into something that’s not real”.
When Kanye asked if he was “thinking free and feeling free”, Van replied: “I actually don’t think you’re thinking anything.
“I think what you’re doing right now is actually the absence of thought. And the reason why I feel like that is because, Kanye, you’re entitled to your opinion. You’re entitled to believe whatever you want,” he said.
Lathan continued: “But there is fact, and real-world, real-life consequence behind everything that you just said. And while you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you’ve earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives. We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said, for our people, was a choice.
“Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled and, brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something, to me, that’s not real.”
The clip then went viral, with Kanye on the receiving end of a backlash, with the hashtag
#IfSlaveryWasAChoice also trending on Twitter.
Kanye later took to the social media site in an attempt to clarify his comments, claiming he was misinterpreted.
He wrote: “Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will.
“My point is for us to have stayed in that position even though the numbers were on our side means that we were mentally enslaved.
“They cut out our tongues so we couldn’t communicate to each other. I will not allow my tongue to be cut.”
He later added: “The reason why I brought up the 400 years point is because we can’t be mentally imprisoned for another 400 years. We need free thought now. Even the statement was an example of free thought It was just an idea.
“Once again I am being atacked for presenting new ideas.”
During the TMZ interview, Kanye also defended his support of Donald Trump, calling him “my boy”, despite the outrage he caused with his Twitter storm about he US president last week.