What is Kanye trying to say?


Talia Weiner, Staff Writer

Over many years of living in the spotlight, famous rapper Kanye West has earned himself a very impulsive reputation. Due to his tendency to give quick, opinionated statements without much forethought, West has had a hand in countless public controversies, including his speech on a recent Saturday Night Live broadcast and the alarming tweets that followed.

On September 29, 2018, West was asked to fill in for Ariana Grande as the musical guest on SNL. After performing three songs on the show, he decided to end the episode with an impromptu rant aimed at his support of President Donald Trump, while wearing his ‘Make America Great Again’ hat loud and proud. During his monologue, West commented, “There’s so many times I talk to a white person about this, and they say, ‘How could you support Trump? He’s racist.’ Well, if I was concerned about racism, I would’ve moved out of America a long time ago.” He also remarked that he “connects” with Trump and even feels “inspired” by him, although he does not agree with all of Trump’s policies. His speech both denounced Democrats and promoted Trump’s presidency, which made the other SNL cast members standing behind him very uncomfortable. Although his meandering rhetoric was cut off due to time, the comedian Chris Rock recorded clips of it from his seat in the audience. Once posted on his instagram story, public uproar hit social media by storm.

A day later, West wanted to continue his Trump support through an extremely ill-worded tweet. Posted with a picture of him wearing his MAGA hat yet again, he captions, “this represents good and America becoming whole again… We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment.” The 13th Amendment abolished slavery and the public was outraged that West would suggest what sounded like bringing back the institution of slavery. In response, he quickly tried to defend himself by declaring, “the 13th Amendment is slavery in disguise meaning it never ended,” but many people are still confused and upset over these tweets.

In analyzing his tweet, one could conclude that West was referring to the “exception clause” of the 13th Amendment, which states that slavery will be abolished “… except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted…” Ever since the Amendment was passed, there has been continuous concern that the “exception clause” has allowed the prison system to be used as a way to “disguise” slavery. The issue is still relevant today, which is why it might connect to West’s tweets. He most likely meant to say he wanted to abolish the “exception clause” rather than the entire 13th Amendment. This is just another example of West pushing to get his thoughts out as swiftly and loudly as he possibly can without actually considering how his words will be perceived.