Kanye West Says Slavery Was a Choice, Gets Shut Down by TMZ Staffer

Kanye West with Michele Lamy in Los Angeles in 2016
Kanye West with Michele Lamy in Los Angeles in 2016
Photo: Rachel Murray (Getty Images for MOCA)

During an appearance on TMZ Live Tuesday morning, Kanye West made the bold and misguided proclamation that the 400 years black Americans spent being enslaved were a choice—much to the ire of one TMZ staffer.


Kanye made the appearance with Candace Owens, and the pair explained their definition of “free thought” and how coming from a place of love can make the world a better place.

At one point during the conversation, Kanye said, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years ... for 400 years? That sound like a choice.

“Like … you was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all?” he asked incredulously.

Kanye still does not realize the power and weight his words carry. He clearly doesn’t understand how the trans-Atlantic slave trade worked.

Kanye really doesn’t understand anything anymore, does he?

Van Lathan from the TMZ newsroom was quick to call out Kanye on his bull and put him in his place.


“Do you feel that I’m being free and I’m thinking free?” Kanye asked.

“I actually don’t think you’re thinking anything,” Lathan said. “I think that what you’re doing right now is 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, 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 a 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,” Lathan continued. “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 isn’t real.”

Lathan then told Kanye that he has to be responsible about what he says.

“Your voice is too big,” he told Kanye, and those are the realest words ever.


It cannot be stressed enough the danger that lies in what Kanye is saying and doing as of late. He has power and influence and people who hang on to—and believe—his every word.

That puts a heavy burden of responsibility on Kanye, and if it is a level of responsibility that he is not willing to accept—shutting the fuck up is always an option for him.



We need to stop this “I’m entitled to my opinion” non-sense. All opinions are not of value nor should they be respected. I know absolutely nothing about nuclear physics. My opinion on the topic of nuclear physics makes about as much sense as a soup sandwich.