Kanye West says Harriet Tubman ‘never actually freed the slaves’ at rally

Kanye West on Sunday said renowned abolitionist and activist Harriet Tubman “never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people” during a freewheeling campaign rally in South Carolina. 

According to The Associated Press, the comments made by West, who announced plans to run for president roughly a week ago, drew some negative responses from the crowd of hundreds in North Charleston.

West has stirred confusion over the past week over whether he has serious intentions to run for president this year. During the rally, his first so far, he addressed a number of topics ranging from racism to abortion and pornography.

But one of the most talked about moments from the rally, which reportedly ran for about an hour, came when West made his comment about Tubman. The moment came as he was talking about economic equality, according to Reuters.

The remarks about Tubman, often referred to as the “Moses of her people” for her work helping free enslaved people in the 1800s, also drew viral backlash from hundreds of people online.

West, who was seen in photos wearing a bulletproof vest at the rally and had the number “2020” styled into his haircut, also took a brief moment during the event to denounce pornography and drug abuse, according to Reuters.  

“Freedom does not come from an election. The freedom comes from you not loading up the pornography. The freedom comes from you not taking the Percocet,” West reportedly said.

He also discussed his views on abortion, which he made clear he opposes but said should remain legal, and proposed a “maximum increase” effort, through which women could receive income-based financial assistance.

West reportedly said a woman could receive “a million dollars or something like that” as part of the effort.

West, once a vocal supporter of President Trump, announced his plans to run for office in an interview with Forbes earlier this month. 

In the interview, West, who had shocked fans years back when he came out in support of the president, told the outlet that he was “taking the red hat off” and said “one of the main reasons I wore the red hat [was] as a protest to the segregation of votes in the Black community.”  

West’s rally in South Carolina on Sunday comes as the billionaire musician and designer is trying to gather 10,000 signatures from voters to appear on their ballot later this year, according to The Post and Courier.

This past week, West also filed to appear on the presidential ballot in Oklahoma. However, his chances to appear on the ballot in rest the of country come November remain slim due to his late campaign launch, as the deadline to file for this year’s race has expired in a number of states. 

West has been criticized in the past for comments he has made about slavery. In 2018, he was confronted by an employee of TMZ when he said that slavery “sounds like a choice.” 

That same year, also took to Twitter to criticize the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. 

“We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment. Message sent with love,” he said in a series of tweets then, adding: “The 13th Amendment is slavery in disguise, meaning it never ended. We are the solution that heals.”

He later said at the time that he didn’t want the amendment to be abolished but amended.

Tags 2020 Donald Trump Harriet Tubman Kanye West Slavery

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