This TMZ Dude Clapped Back at Kanye West, and It’s Really All We Needed

The rapper’s trip to the tabloid’s office Tuesday was…eventful.

Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/ZUMA Press

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On Tuesday, Kanye West dropped by the TMZ newsroom to talk about his “boy” President Donald Trump and his addiction to painkillers, and he suggested that extensive history of enslavement was a “choice.”

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years, for 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” West told TMZ with a grin on his face. “You were there for 400 years, and it’s all of y’all? We’re mentally in prison.”

The false assertion comes just a day after the rapper shared on Twitter texts from singer John Legend and radio personality Charlamagne tha God, who gave him a lesson about the Republican Party’s history with African Americans. In the last week, West has drawn praise from conservatives—and the president himself—for the rapper’s support for commentators like Candace Owens and for doubling down in his praise of Trump.

When West asked the newsroom whether he was thinking freely, TMZ employee Van Lathan stood up and gave the rapper the real talk he needed.

“I actually don’t think you are thinking anything,” he said. “While you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you’ve earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives. We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said for our people was a choice.” West rolled up to the employee and said, “Bro, I’m sorry I hurt you,” as the clip trails off. 

Watch the TMZ clip below. West also sat down for a wide-ranging 105-minute interview with Charlamagne tha God.

In another clip, Kanye pleaded that society can fix and “love each other now” and turned to the topic of black-on-black crime.

“Black people have a tendency to focus and march when a white person kills a black person or wears a hat but when it’s 700 kids being killed in Chicago it’s okay. It’s okay for blacks to kill blacks, but if it’s a white thing…”

Lathan shouted back, “that’s a lie.” After the interview with TMZ emerged, West tried to clarify his remarks on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/kanyewest/status/991459400018624512

https://twitter.com/kanyewest/status/991459902718492682

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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