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Rapper Kanye West, in his first event since declaring himself a presidential candidate, ranted against historical figure Harriet Tubman on Sunday and said the Underground Railroad conductor “never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people.”
West’s comments while speaking at a campaign rally in Charleston, S.C., drew shouts of opposition from some in the crowd and he also broke down in tears when talking about abortion.
“I almost killed my daughter,” he said to the crowd, saying he and wife Kim Kardashian had considered terminating a pregnancy.
“Forty-three years ago who do you think protected a child? My mom saved my life. My dad wanted to abort me,” West told the crowd as he started to cry. “My mom saved my life. There would have been no Kanye West because my dad was too busy.
“In the Bible it says, ‘Thou shall not kill.’ I remember my girlfriend called me screaming and crying … she said, ‘I’m pregnant’ … She said she was pregnant and for one month, and two months, and three months we talked about her not having this child. She had the pills in her hand.”
West said that he was in the Paris “apartment where my wife was actually robbed” when “the screen went black and white and God said, ‘If you f— with my vision, I’m gonna f— with yours. And I called my wife, and she said, ‘We’re gonna have this baby.’ I said, ‘We’re gonna have this child.'”
“Even if my wife were to divorce me after this speech,” West said, “she brought North into the world even when I didn’t want to.”
“She stood up and she protected that child,” West added about his wife.
West also suggested that there should be “no more Plan B,” the emergency contraceptive pill.
He said women should be given $50,000 per year to help take care of children and added, “It takes a village, no matter how much money you have. Society has been set up for single mothers to never have a village.”
“You have never met someone who said, ‘I had this child and it was the worst thing,'” he added.
West said he doesn’t want to make abortion illegal but wants to present an “option” to women.
“The option of maximum increase should be available,” West explained. “Maximum increase would be everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars, or something.”
West’s criticism of Tubman came when he discussed splitting “the Black vote.”
“The most racist thing that’s ever been said out loud is the idea that if Kanye West runs for president, that I’m gonna split the Black votes,” he said. “I’m not trying to quiet your voices, actually, I just haven’t had the time to word it in the most elegant way possible.”
West said “Harriet Tubman actually never freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people.”
“The National Basketball Association is not owned by any Blacks. Universal Music is not owned by any Blacks.”
Tubman is one of the most respected figures of 19th century America. An African American who escaped slavery, she helped enslaved Black men and women travel north to freedom and fought for the Union during the Civil War. She later became a supporter of women’s suffrage.
“You don’t see the real power. You don’t know who’s putting the internet in your school just to track you,” West said. “You don’t know who’s targeting you. You don’t know who’s the head of the boards. I am not on the board at Adidas. I am not on the board at Gap. And that has to change today, or I walk away.
“We are all equal in God’s eyes. Sometimes people are controlled by demons, controlled by the environment we are in, but we are all God’s people. There are no bad people.”
During his rally, West also said he doesn’t “give a f— if I win the presidency or not.”
“God has a plan for us as his people to be finally free,” he said.
“Politics, America, Trump, Biden nor Kanye West can free us.”
Wearing a protective vest and with “2020” shaved into his hair, the entertainer appeared on a livestream of the event. Several hundred people gathered in a venue, where gospel music played before West’s appearance.
The event was reportedly for registered guests only, although a campaign website had no registration or RSVP information.
His speech has led to some concerns for West, who has spoken out about battling mental illness in the past. Some social media users were concerned for the rapper.
After clips of West’s rally went viral, TMZ reported that “those around him believe Kanye is in desperate need of professional help and is in the middle of a serious bipolar episode, but he won’t listen to them.”
West was previously hospitalized almost four years ago in November 2016, after police responded to a report of an altercation between West and another person at the home of his personal trainer.
The Life of Pablo rapper was reportedly experiencing “temporary psychosis” caused by dehydration and sleep deprivation. He checked out of the UCLA Medical Center after his nine-day stay under the care of his wife, Kardashian, and physician, Dr. Michael Farzam.
West was embroiled in controversy in the days leading up to his hospitalization. He went on a 15-minute rant in 2016 at his concert in Sacramento, Calif. about Beyoncé, Jay Z, Hillary Clinton, DJ Khaled, Mark Zuckerberg, Taylor Swift and Lebron James.
In 2018, debuted his album Ye, and the album art read, “I hate being Bi-Polar its awesome.”
West missed the deadline to qualify for the ballot in several states, and it was unclear if he was willing or able to collect enough signatures required to qualify in others. Last week, he qualified to appear on Oklahoma’s presidential ballot, the first state where he met the requirements before the filing deadline.
West needed to collect 10,000 signatures by noon Monday to appear on the South Carolina ballot, according to state law. The entertainer tweeted out a list of locations around the Charleston area where petitions could be signed.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.
— With files from The Associated Press