During a Thursday night appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” rapper and vocal Trump supporter Kanye West accused “liberals” of trying to bully him through the expectation that his race would determine his political affiliation.
“Just as a musician, African-American, guy out in Hollywood, all these different things, you know, everyone around me tried to pick my candidate for me,” said West, who has been roundly criticized for his support of the president by his show business colleagues. “And then told me every time I said I liked Trump that I couldn’t say it out loud or my career would be over; I’d get kicked out of the black community because blacks — we’re supposed to have a monolithic thought, we can only, like, we can only be Democrats and all.”
The Chicago native went on to describe the process of steeling himself before coming out publicly as Trump supporter, a decision he was aware might have dire professional and persona consequences.
“I didn’t have the confidence to take on the world and the possible backlash and it took me a year and a half to have the confidence to stand up and put on the hat no matter what the consequences were,” West explained. “And what it represented to me is not about policies — because I’m not a politician like that. But it represented overcoming fear and doing what you felt, no matter what anyone said, in saying, you can’t bully me. Liberals can’t bully me, news can’t bully me, the hip-hop community, they can’t bully me.”
“Because at that point, if I’m afraid to be me, I’m no longer Ye. That’s what makes Ye,” he added.
Kimmel pressed West on Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy and its implications for families who arrive at the border only to be separated from each another. The host then pivoted to West’s race-specific criticism of previous presidents, asking what he believes make Trump any different.
“I mean, you’ve so famously and so powerfully said George [W.] Bush doesn’t care about black people. It makes me wonder what makes you think that Donald Trump does — or any people at all?,” Kimmel asked. West remained silent, prompting a nervous chuckle from the audience, before Kimmel went to commercial break.