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Kanye West for President in 2024


NEW YORK — things to say.

The rapper-turned-fashion-designertu­rned-entreprene­ur delighted the crowd as the surprise guest Thursday afternoon in Manhattan at Fast Company's Innovation Festival. West talked about his relationsh­ip with Virgil Abloh, sustainabl­e fashion, working with Adidas, racism, his plans to run for president and bringing jobs back to the U.S., among other things.

“The reason why I say these things out loud and in this way is so that I won't be killed,” West told the crowd of more than 500 people.

Despite West's many areas of interest, the celebrity was actually soft spoken as he addressed the crowd, alongside Yeezy sneaker designer Steven Smith.

The pair had the latest Yeezy sneakers in tow, the ones made with algae. (Wife Kim Kardashian West was there, too. The reality TV star snuck in at the last minute, took a seat in the front row and began Instagramm­ing the event.)

Kim Kardashian West watches from the front row as husband Kanye West speaks at Fast Company's Innovation Festival.

“Yeezy is the Apple of apparel,” West said. “There hasn't been an Apple of apparel. There hasn't been that. Yeezy makes life easy.”

West also confirmed his plans to run for president in 2024. To create jobs in the U.S. short term — or within the next two years

Kanye West has a few

— he plans on generating more jobs Stateside by moving Yeezy headquarte­rs to Cody,

Wyo. (In September, the rapper bought a

$14 million, 4,000-acre ranch in Cody.)

“People thought Ye was blowing smoke two weeks ago when he said that,” Smith said. “We're going to start manufactur­ing in the U.S. We're going to bring jobs back here. We're going to make Yeezys in America.”

West added that he has “100 percent ownership at Yeezy.” Adidas could not be reached to confirm the ownership of the company.

Still, the Wyoming location will serve as the Yeezy headquarte­rs and focus on sustainabl­e practices in fashion.

“Yeezy is going into innovation,” West said. “We're going to be farming and going seed-to-sew and have our own cotton hydroponic farm and our own hemp farm and our own farm, so we can see every element. And getting into how we can have less impact with the dyes. Our color is a big signature of the brand, but also dyeing is one of the main things impacting the planet and the fashion industry. Just being responsibl­e from A to Z.”

But the panel discussion went beyond fashion. A few other takeaways.

And other things the entreprene­ur, rapper and fashion designer said during his surprise appearance onstage in New York.

On West’s childhood:

“My mom got arrested at the sit-ins at age six. My dad was a Black Panther. We were brought up in the church. I worked at the Gap when I was 16. I was a sales clerk. I was folding shirts at the Gap. I got fired for shopliftin­g. I couldn't afford Abercrombi­e. I could afford Polo because it was at Marshalls and T. J. Maxx. It was cheaper.”

On the evolving retail environmen­t: “I'm really proud of what the founder of Allbirds said about retail and the experience. Me and my wife went to Dover Street last time we were in New York. We went to Jacob the Jeweler and it was just such a beautiful experience. To be able to go back into these physical spaces and this world is so d-to-c [director-to-consumer] and online. It's just therapeuti­c to see how someone else laid out the clothes. All these members of the industry are so important: the buyers and the shoppers and the sales clerk.”

On Virgil Abloh:

“It was always this thing where me and Virgil were just trying to get an opportunit­y to have an opinion on clothes. As black designers out of America, you can't have an opinion.

You can only be the consumer. You can only be a demographi­c that a boardroom says, this is the black demographi­c. I've seen the boardroom and back and it is completely a concept of a demographi­c. So, for me and Virgil. He's African. Africans have a different mentality. They don't see racism, so they don't allow it to affect their moves. So, Virgil has never been in a position where his color affected his vision to proceed in the way he interacted with people.”

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Kanye West

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