Kanye West’s bewildering presidential rally was punctuated with several controversial statements and technical miscues in North Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday, July 19, 2020.
With the American flag posted behind him and wearing body armor, the 43-year-old “Good Life” rapper had to yell most of his speech before his audience because he lacked a microphone. This forced the crowd to huddle together closer to him despite earlier advisories about wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
West freely traversed from one topic to another during the hourlong monologue that included such topics as: how social media brainwashes people; the dangers of plastic surgery; addiction to opioids; his umbrage at the lack of diversity in corporations and in sports and music; and the threat to part ways with Adidas and other sponsors if they failed to be more inclusive.
It was in the midst of this flurry of ideas that Kanye made his most controversial statement of the evening by invoking Harriet Tubman. He told the crowd that “Democrats ain’t did s— for Blacks,” he railed. “And the most racist thing that’s ever been said out loud is that the idea that if Kanye West runs for president, I’m going to split the Black vote.”
Kanye likened the Democrats’ opposition to his candidacy to Samuel L. Jackson’s famously obedient character, Stephen, in the Oscar-winning movie Django Unchained, calling it a “Stephen move.”
He then said Harriet Tubman, the venerated abolitionist, “never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other White people.” He paused and the crowd grew quiet with a few audible moans as if the crowd had suddenly gotten indigestion.
“The National Basketball Association is not owned by any Blacks,” Kanye continued after the pause. “Universal Music is not owned by any Blacks. Any celebrity that you see talking … is not the real power. The real power, you don’t see them.”
Kanye also touched upon his aversion to abortion, crying as he said his father didn’t want him to be born. “My dad wanted to abort me. My mom saved my life. There would have been no Kanye West because my father was too busy,” he said before dissolving into tears as the crowd cheered.
Kanye continued on his tearful rant that he “almost killed his daughter” because his wife Kim Kardashian wanted to give birth to North West when he did not want to have the baby.
— RickyTheeStallion (@rxcky_vxga) July 19, 2020
West has been scrambling to reach the requisite 10,000 signatures to be placed on the South Carolina presidential ballot. His team had the crowd pass around clipboards to collect signatures before the rally began. No word yet if he achieved that objective.
Flip the page to listen to Kanye’s speech in full. The part about Harriet Tubman begins at the 16-minute mark.