This TMZ Dude Clapped Back at Kanye West, and It’s Really All We Needed

The rapper’s trip to the tabloid’s office Tuesday was…eventful.

Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/ZUMA Press

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On Tuesday, Kanye West dropped by the TMZ newsroom to talk about his “boy” President Donald Trump and his addiction to painkillers, and he suggested that extensive history of enslavement was a “choice.”

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years, for 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” West told TMZ with a grin on his face. “You were there for 400 years, and it’s all of y’all? We’re mentally in prison.”

The false assertion comes just a day after the rapper shared on Twitter texts from singer John Legend and radio personality Charlamagne tha God, who gave him a lesson about the Republican Party’s history with African Americans. In the last week, West has drawn praise from conservatives—and the president himself—for the rapper’s support for commentators like Candace Owens and for doubling down in his praise of Trump.

When West asked the newsroom whether he was thinking freely, TMZ employee Van Lathan stood up and gave the rapper the real talk he needed.

“I actually don’t think you are thinking anything,” he said. “While you are making music and being an artist and living the 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.” West rolled up to the employee and said, “Bro, I’m sorry I hurt you,” as the clip trails off. 

Watch the TMZ clip below. West also sat down for a wide-ranging 105-minute interview with Charlamagne tha God.

In another clip, Kanye pleaded that society can fix and “love each other now” and turned to the topic of black-on-black crime.

“Black people have a tendency to focus and march when a white person kills a black person or wears a hat but when it’s 700 kids being killed in Chicago it’s okay. It’s okay for blacks to kill blacks, but if it’s a white thing…”

Lathan shouted back, “that’s a lie.” After the interview with TMZ emerged, West tried to clarify his remarks on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/kanyewest/status/991459400018624512

https://twitter.com/kanyewest/status/991459902718492682

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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