Kanye West has never been one to keep his political views to himself.
First there was the ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people’ incident on live TV in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Then there was his vocal activism in the Occupy Wall Street movement, his rambling announcement in September 2015 that he was running for president in 2020, and a thousand other outraged opinions and venomous rants.
But last night he may have reached his controversial peak.
At a concert in San Jose for his Saint Pablo Tour, the rapper exclaimed: ‘I would have voted Trump’ to a shocked crowd.
‘This is my platform and I’m going to talk about the paradigm shift that’s happening right now,’ he said, before launching into a 40-minute political speech in place of a number of his songs.
— albertoreyes (@albertoreyes) November 18, 2016
No recording of the full rant has emerged yet, and it’s hard to put a finger on exactly what point Kanye was making from the fragmented accounts that are dribbling in. But it sounds largely like he was praising the disruptive elements of the Trump campaign, some of which ‘inspired racists to reveal themselves’.
He wanted his fans to know that supporters of all stripes were welcome, however, saying ‘Whether you voted for Hillary and Trump, this is a safe space for both of you.’ He then asked any Trump voters to make themselves known, before repeating his claim that he is running for president in 2020. Apparently, his focus would be on education and that the entire campaign will be built on a revolutionary political model.
Understandably, the rant received something of a mixed response.
According to those at the scene, Kanye was thrilled when one woman screamed out that she loved him in spite of his endorsement of the Trump campaign. But there was also a great deal booing, some very awkward silences, and even a few projectiles thrown at the stage. One of these was a Yeezy shoe, which Kanye then signed and threw back to its owner.
Many fans tweeted about how this was the final straw for their support for the outspoken candidate. Others, however, were speculating how the speech was a perfectly calibrated stunt for the launch of his presidential campaign.