Kanye West Defends TMZ Slavery Comments: 'I Never Said Slavery Itself Was a Choice'

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In a lengthy interview with the New York Times published today (June 25), Kanye West formally addressed the TMZ slavery statement and how his words were taken out context.

“I said the idea sitting in something for 400 years sounds — sounds — like a choice to me, I never said it’s a choice. I never said slavery itself — like being shackled in chains — was a choice,” West said. “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.”    

Kanye continued by stating that the whole experience was "awesome" because the opportunity for growth. "I learned so much. I learned about the context the idea the word slave. I didn’t take it in that context. I think that my personality and energy mirrors Nat Turner, or it had in the past, but that showed me that also that Nat Turner approach would land me in the same place Nat Turner landed, and that I would be legendary but also just a martyr. But I guess we’re all martyrs eventually, and we’re all guaranteed to die."

When asked how he would reframe his original statement, West half-ignored the question and instead claimed responsibility for his actions -- while also still defending his original, yet still rather unclear, point.

"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," he told the Times. "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 it when my voice means too much."

Read Kanye's entire New York Times interview here.