Kanye West has angered fans yet again after suggesting 400 years of slavery in America was "a choice" for many.
The controversial hip-hop star made the incendiary statement during an interview with TMZ on Tuesday (01May18), with the Black Skinhead rapper suggesting African-Americans, who were slaves until the inhuman trade was formally abolished in the U.S. through the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, simply chose to be imprisoned for centuries by white masters.
"You hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” the 40-year-old told the hosts of TMZ Live in the video interview. “Like, that was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all?"
West, who did not acknowledge the brutality of the institution of slavery, including the rapes, beatings and mutilations thousands endured, moved on to suggest America's dark past has no historical importance other than the reflection of a state of mind.
"It’s like, we’re mentally in prison," he said, referring to his fellow black Americans. "I like the word ‘prison’ because slavery is too direct to the idea of blacks. Like Holocaust is Jews, slavery is blacks. So prison is something that unites us as one race, whites and blacks being one race. The human race.”
Earlier in the interview, Kanye also claimed he is distinct within the African-American community, stating: “I am in hip-hop, but I’m not just in hip-hop. I’m a black person in the black community, but I’m not just that... I also represent the world."
TMZ employee Van Lathan was also featured in the footage slamming Kanye as reckless for referring to slavery as a choice.
“I actually don’t feel think you’re thinking anything. I think what you’re doing right now is actually the absence of thought," Van said, addressing the rapper directly. "The reason that I feel that is because Kanye, you’re entitled to you’re opinion, you’re entitled to believe whatever you want, but there is fact and real-world, real-life consequence behind everything that you just said."
"We have to deal with the marginalisation that’s come from the 400 years of slavery that you said for our people, was a choice," Van added. "Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled and, brother, I’m unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something, to me, that’s not real.”
Fans took to Twitter in droves to slam Kanye for his statements, calling him ignorant and offensive.
"Kanye West really out here thinking that black people who saw their daughters, sons, mothers, brothers, & fathers shot, stabbed, mutilated, whipped, starved, raped, & torn and sold from families made a choice to be a slave? Kanye is a piece of s**t & you can quote me on that!," one angry tweeter wrote, while another praised TMZ employee Van for calling the rapper out on his comments.
"I don't even like tmz like that, but kudos to @VanLathan for speaking truth to power. That was unbelievable," the the social media user tweeted.
Kanye has been courting a great deal of controversy in recent days after going public with his support for controversial U.S. President Donald Trump last week (ends27Apr18).