Justice

Kanye West's Response to Charleston Is Worth Hearing

June 22nd 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

Over the weekend, artist Kanye West seemingly alluded to last week's shooting in Charleston, South Carolina by freestyle rapping about racism at Hot 107.9′s Birthday Bash in Atlanta.

“I think there’s a couple more things that they owe us,” West sang in his set. “Don’t let them make you believe that I’m crazy/See that’s the magic of racism, it works on itself/We hate each other, screw each other, kill each other/When we can’t kill nobody else/See that’s the magic of lack of resources, it works on itself/500 niggas getting pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-popped, and North Carolina didn't help/See that's the magic of racism, it works on itself."

West's previous comments on racism

Earlier this year, West made headlines for describing racism as "dated" in an interview with CliqueTV.

"It's like a silly concept that people try to touch on ... to separate, to alienate, to pinpoint anything," West said. "It's stupid. It's like a bouncing ball in a room with two cats, or something, when you don't feel like playing with a cat. Let them literally fight over the bouncing ball. And the bouncing ball has nothing, no purpose, anything other than that: It bounces. That's racism. It's not an actual thing that even means anything. It's something that was used to hold people back in the past, but now there's been so many leaps and breaking of the rules that it's like it's played out like a style from the 1800s or something."

Though he said many "black people that have broken the concept of race," such as President Barack Obama and fellow rapper Jay-Z, he said that the "n" word remains "difficult for black people right now."

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"It does hurt when we hear that because we're still in a generation that remembers when racism was a big thing that held people back," West said.

West's marriage to Kim Kardashian

West is married to reality star mega brand Kim Kardashian, with whom he has a young daughter. Last year, Kardashian wrote an article about better understanding racism after giving birth to a half Black child.

"To be honest, before I had [my baby] North, I never really gave racism or discrimination a lot of thought," Kardashian wrote. "But recently, I've read and personally experienced some incidents that have sickened me and made me take notice. I realize that racism and discrimination are still alive, and just as hateful and deadly as they ever have been ... I feel a responsibility as a mother, a public figure, a human being, to do what I can to make sure that not only my child, but all children, don't have to grow up in a world where they are judged by the color of their skin, or their gender, or their sexual orientation."

Racial undertones in West's music

Rapping about racial issues isn't new for West. Two years ago, his songs "New Slaves" and "Black Skinhead" covered various racial issues in America. In "Black Skinhead," he raps, "Enter the kingdom/But watch who you bring home/You see a black man with a white woman/At the top floor they gone come to kill King Kong."

In "New Slaves," he sings, "My mama was raised in the era when/Clean water was only served to the fairer skin/Threw on clothes, you would’ve thought I had help/But they wasn’t satisfied unless I picked the cotton myself."