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Kanye West Tweeted a Fake Harriet Tubman Quote After Saying Slavery Is 'a Choice'

Kanye West tweeted a fake Harriet Tubman quote after saying that slavery was "a choice" during an interview on TMZ Live.

West appeared on TMZ Live on Tuesday to explain his admiration of President Donald Trump and the subsequent backlash he’s received on social media. The TMZ interview cut to West discussing slavery.

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years?! That sounds like a choice. You was there for 400 years, and it’s all of y’all," West said.

West attempted to explain his comment by saying that "slavery" is too close to the word "black." He suggested that "prison" is a better word choice because it "is something that unites us as one race."

"It’s like we’re mentally in prison. I like the word prison because slavery goes too direct to the idea of blacks. Slavery is to blacks as the Holocaust is to Jews," said West. "Prison is something that unites us as one race, blacks and whites, that we’re the human race.”

After the interview, West took to Twitter and compared himself to Nat Turner, the American slave who led a rebellion to free slaves in Southhampton County, Virginia, and Harriet Tubman. Moments later, he posted a quote and cited Tubman, the American abolitionist who went on 13 missions to help black people escape slavery.

“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves. - Harriet Tubman,” West tweeted.

Tubman actually never said that quote, according to fact-checking website Snopes. The same quote went viral in 2016 after it was announced that Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Feminist writer Robin Morgan wrote an essay in 2008 that discussed post-feminism and cited Tubman as the quote's originator. 

It's never been proven that Tubman said the quote and historians said misattribution could have negative consequences. Dr. W. Caleb McDaniel, a professor and slavery historian at Rice University, wrote in an essay in 2016 that it’s not only hurtful to Tubman but could also be harmful to anti-slavery efforts today.

“Modern historians know the truth: enslaved people resisted their condition in countless ways, large and small. If they were not able to attain freedom, it was not because they didn’t want it or because (as the fake Tubman quote would have it) they 'did not know they were slaves,'" McDaniel wrote. "It was because powerful forces were arrayed against them. The idea of 'tacit consent' distracted attention from that fact.”

West’s controversial Twitter rampages have upset many fans. Last week, West said he and Trump were “brothers” and both shared what he called “dragon energy.”

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