Kanye West held his first presidential rally in Charleston over the weekend which saw the rapper discuss theology, homelessness, corporate power, and have a long debate with an audience member about abortion.
While there were only a few hundred people who were able to pack into the room for the event, with all attendees being asked to sign a COVID-19 liability release form, social distance and wear a mask, the rally was typically chaotic with West making a number of controversial statements.
In a previous conversation with Forbes about his political plans, West said: “When the conversation turned to his proposed Presidential run, God just gave me the clarity and said it’s time,” as an explanation for his decision. “You know I was out there, ended up in the hospital, people were calling me crazy. I’m not crazy.”
West continuously discussed the terms of his Adidas deal, God as well as racism in the US, including a bizarre remark that “[abolitionist] Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people”.
Tubman was an African-American who escaped slavery herself and, in turn, helped enslaved Black men and women travel north to freedom and fought for the Union during the Civil War in the 19th Century.
Another controversial moment arrived when West discussed abortion: “I was having the rapper’s lifestyle,” he said. “I was sitting up in Paris, and I had my leather pants on … and I had my laptop up and I got all of my creative ideas … And the screen went black and white and God said, ‘if you fuck with my vision I’m going to fuck with yours’.”
He added: “And I called my wife and she said, we’re gonna have this baby. I said we’re gonna have this child … So even if my wife were to divorce me after this speech, she brought North into the world when I didn’t want to. She stood up and she protected that child.”
West then started to break down when speaking about his father, who he said had wanted his mother to have an abortion when she was pregnant with him: “My mom saved my life. My dad wanted to abort me. My mom saved my life. There would have been no Kanye West because my dad was too busy,” he said, sobbing into his hand, before shouting: “I almost killed my daughter! I almost killed my daughter!”
He did make it clear that he wasn’t anti-abortion, however, instead explaining how he thinks increased resources should be made available for new mothers: “My stance is not to make abortion illegal at all. It should always be legal. But there should be an option of maximum increase available … Maximum increase would be, everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars.”
Watch it in full, below.