The second leg of Kanye West’s Saint Pablo tour kicked off in California on Thursday night, but the 39-year-old rapper arrived late. And instead of immediately jumping into his set list, West opted to rant about this year’s presidential election in an incredibly controversial way.
“I told y’all I didn’t vote, right? But if I were to vote, I would have voted on Trump,” he told the crowd, who immediately began booing him.
"I would have voted for Trump." – Kanye West pic.twitter.com/g9qxaT7aRc
— billy (@billycrossover) November 18, 2016
He continued to talk about why he supported the president-elect before transitioning into his song, Heartless.
“Whether you voted for Hillary or Trump, this is a safe space for both of you,” he told the audience, asking any Trump voters to make themselves known.
The rapper explained what appealed to him about Trump’s campaign.
“There’s methods, non-political methods to speaking, that I like, that I feel were very futuristic. That style and method of communication has proven that it can be a politically correct way of communication. And I f**k with that.”
The audience objected to his statements so loudly he actually had to stop the performance moments in.
— Gato XX (@Wet_human) November 18, 2016
“I just said that I would have voted for Donald Trump and then I did a song and y’all sang it at the top of your lungs,” he noted. “That doesn’t mean that you’re a Trump supporter. That just means [you’re] OK with a celebrity having their own opinion. Or that someone else is OK to have their own opinion. That might not be your opinion but you can still like that person or still like that person’s music.”
He went on to call out last week’s Saturday Night Live host Dave Chappelle saying, “Dave Chapelle, it’s OK. We can have opinions as celebrities. I know you said we couldn’t, but thank you for breaking the ice on a mentality of a generation.”
Kanye West tonight speaking on racism in America. "Specifically to black people, stop talking about race so much." pic.twitter.com/HTWlJgdq7E
— Brandon E. Patterson (@myblackmindd) November 18, 2016
West also generated audible opposition when he started talking about racism (a notable issue over the course of the recent U.S. presidential campaign).
“Specifically to black people, stop focusing on racism. This world is racist, OK? Let’s stop being distracted to focus on that as much. It’s just a f**king fact. We are in a racist country. Period… Not one or the other candidate was going to instantly change that.”
Fans did not like that.
"The fashion industry is racist and I need to expose it"-Kanye West
"Black people need to stop focusing so much on racism"-also Kanye West
— Matt (@boczkuss) November 18, 2016
First it was "Bush don't care bout black people" now it's "stop talking bout racism so much" lmaoo why do you make this so easy? @kanyewest
— Henny Dee Williams (@Scott_CEOofSUH) November 18, 2016
You think black people haven't wanted to stop talking about racism for the last 300 years? @kanyewest
— Ferrari Sheppard (@stopbeingfamous) November 18, 2016
How can you tell to black people get over racism when you can't get over the fact Bey and Jay Z are no longer your friends @kanyewest ???
— kalen (@Geminiboyy) November 18, 2016
For example; Lil Wayne & Kanye West, they used to talk about Racism and all but now it's out of sight and out of mind for them? How sway? pic.twitter.com/1Yio3hymjJ
— ✨ (@PinkLoading) November 18, 2016
What makes West’s statements all the more controversial is the fact they’re not very presidential – and he’s publicly stated he wants to run for president in 2020.
Barack Obama has even gone on to offer the rapper some advice saying it’s important he keep his “rants” in check. He also offered up this tip:
“You’ve got to spend a lot of time dealing with some strange characters who behave like they’re on a reality TV show,” Obama continued. “So you’ve just to be cool with that.” (Editor’s note: since Yeezy is married to one of the biggest reality television stars of our time, Kim Kardashian, he’s probably pretty prepared to deal that.)
It appears the rapper is so serious about his campaign plans that he’s already had “Yeezy for President” gear designed.
— Kanye West Things (@KanyeWestThings) July 4, 2016
And he’s wrangled up some celeb backers.
“I like the idea of him running,” he said. “That’s a lot of responsibility, you know what I’m saying? It’s the same thing like with Trump.”
Prior to Nov. 8’s election results, West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton, as did her momager, Kris Jenner, and sister, Khloe. Caitlyn Jenner was the only member of the famous family to publicly support Trump.
West also attended a Clinton fundraising event back in August 2015, snapping a selfie with the former Democratic nominee.
It’s unclear why West didn’t decide to vote in this year’s election.