Kanye West's 'slaver y was a choice' gets heavy back­lash

South Florida Times - - NATION - By JOHN N. MITCHELL The Philadelphia Tri­bune

Rap­per Kanye West’s con­tro­ver­sial com­ment ear­lier this week con­tin­ues to stir an­gry re­buke, and even some con­ser­va­tives who lauded him last month for his em­brace of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump are warn­ing other con­ser­va­tives to be skep­ti­cal of West.

Dur­ing a Tues­day seg­ment on “TMZ LIVE,” West sent shock waves rac­ing across the In­ter­net and into the world when he said “slav­ery,” which lasted in Amer­ica for al­most three cen­turies, “was a choice.”

Philadelphia rap­per Eve, a host on “The Talk,” slammed West on Wed­nes­day’s show.

“You want to be a free thinker, you want to be thought-pro­vok­ing, you can­not have these ideas with­out facts to back them up,” Eve said. “Slav­ery is a fact. Slav­ery is part of our his­tory. We can­not for­get it. We are still feel­ing the ef­fects of slav­ery within our com­mu­nity, within our cul­ture. It hurts me.

“At the end of the day, we all got lucky and got plucked out of our hoods and live these amaz­ing lives,” she con­tin­ued. “But you can­not be so far in your bub­ble to think you are not a part of what this his­tory is.”

Chad Dion Las­siter, co­founder and pres­i­dent of the Black Men at Penn School of So­cial Work, de­bunked West’s contention that slaves were not re­sis­tant to their bondage and pointed to bloody slave up­ris­ings in Vir­ginia led by Nat Turner (1831) and Gabriel Prosser (1800) as ex­am­ples.

Las­siter pointed out that while slaves may have out­num­bered slave own­ers and over­seers by the hun­dreds on large plan­ta­tions, slavers had all the guns and am­mu­ni­tion and used fear, of­ten­times killing slaves while oth­ers looked on, to dis­suade in­sur­rec­tion.

“When you have a slave master that rips open a women’s belly, re­moves a fe­tus and throws it on the ground for all to see, when you are reg­u­larly tor­tur­ing bar­bar­i­cally, there is fear,” Las­siter said. “Folks have to get away from say­ing there were 200 slaves on the plan­ta­tion and only three slave mas­ters. There was al­ways the fear of what might hap­pen to you if you tried to lib­er­ate your your peo­ple.”

West's com­ment, he added, al­lows peo­ple to change the slav­ery nar­ra­tive.

“He be­comes a re­vi­sion­ist in black skin for white supremacy,” Las­siter said.

In Detroit, throw­back Hip-Hop and R&B sta­tion 105.1 The Bounce FM an­nounced on Thurs­day that it will no longer player West’s mu­sic, with disk Jockey Shay-Shay say­ing, “I think it’s reck­less and ir­re­spon­si­ble to use your plat­form I this type of way. I get that I’m a small fish in the ocean, but on my plat­form I feel like it’s im­por­tant to make a state­ment.”

Film di­rec­tor Spike Lee posted a photo on In­sta­gram of him and West with a cap­tion that read, in par, “My brother, OUR An­ces­tors Did Not Choose To Be Stolen From Mother Africa. Our An­ces­tors Did Not Choose To Be Ripped Of Our Religion, Lan­guage, Cul­ture.”

Fel­low rap­per T.I. tweeted “They cut out our tongues so we couldn’t com­mu­ni­cate to each other, I will not al­low my tongue to be cut. They hung the most pow­er­ful in or­der to force fear into the oth­ers.”

Oth­ers who have been crit­i­cal of West in­clude film­maker Ava Duver­nay, singers John Leg­end and Chris Brown, and rap­pers Snoop Dogg, Chance The Rap­per, who called West his men­tor — among oth­ers.

West, is sched­uled to re­lease an al­bum in June. In re­cent weeks West has donned a “Make Amer­ica Great Again” hat on Twit­ter, spo­ken crit­i­cally about for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, and praised Can­dace Owens, an AfricanAmer­i­can con­ser­va­tive ris­ing star, f or what he called her “will­ing­ness” to “think in­de­pen­dently.”

Owens speaks very crit­i­cally of or­ga­ni­za­tions like Black Lives Matter, and she has urged blacks to get off the Demo­cratic “plan­ta­tion” and vote for Trump.

How­ever, any number of high-pro­file con­ser­va­tives have warned oth­ers con­ser­va­tives to steer clear of West.

Fox News’ Tomi Lahren tweeted “please do not at­tach your­selves to Kanye. It will back­fire. Mark. My Words.”

Ra­dio host Ben Shapiro said in a tweet, “Just warn­ing you now: live by the Kanye, die by the Kanye.”

And for­mer Repub­li­can Illi­nois con­gress­man-turned-ra­dio-host Joe Walsh told his lis­ten­ers “Kanye is all about Kanye. Pe­riod.”

A TMZ staffer, iden­ti­fied as Van Lathan, was present when West made his re­mark and chal­lenged the rap­per on the spot.

“I ac­tu­ally don’t think you’re think­ing any­thing,” Lathan told West. “I think what you’re do­ing right now is ac­tu­ally 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 re­al­world, real-lif e con­se­quence be­hind ev­ery­thing that you just 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,” he added. “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.’

“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’s not real,” Lathan con­cluded.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF WIKIPEDIA

CRIT­I­CAL MASS: Kanye West was crit­i­cized for say­ing slav­ery was a choice.

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