Kanye Suggests 400 Years of Slavery Was 'a Choice' on TMZ

Kanye West suggested that slavery was "a choice" on Tuesday during an interview with TMZ Live.

During the rapper's visit to the TMZ newsroom, West discussed his friendship with President Donald Trump and explained why he posted a picture on Twitter last week of himself wearing a Make America Great Again hat.

"I just love Trump. That's my boy," West told TMZ. "Trump is one of rap's favorite people."

The interview then cut to West discussing slavery, and a quip when he tells producers Harvey Levin and Charles Latibeaudiere that he believed slavery was a choice.

"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 then tried to explain his comment by saying that slavery is too close to the word black. Prison is a better word because it "is something that unites us as one race," he suggested.

"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."

Van Lathan, who works at TMZ, fired back at West and said that while the rapper is allowed to have his own opinions, there are consequences to his actions.

"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," Lathan said.

"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.'… Frankly, I'm disappointed, I'm appalled and, brother, I'm unbelievable hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something, to me, that's not real," Lathan continued.

West tried to apologize for hurting Lathan's feelings, but Lathan said the rapper's "mouth is too big."

The controversial statement followed a series of tweets the rapper wrote last week where he called President Trump his "brother" and said the two both shared "dragon energy." The 40-year-old rapper has stood by his comments supporting Trump.

"You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don't agree with everything anyone does. That's what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought," West tweeted last week.

The president tweeted at West thanking him for the support.

"Kanye West has performed a great service to the Black Community - Big things are happening and eyes are being opened for the first time in Decades - Legacy Stuff! Thank you also to Chance and Dr. Darrell Scott, they really get it (lowest Black & Hispanic unemployment in history)," Trump tweeted.

Kanye Suggests 400 Years of Slavery Was 'a Choice' on TMZ | U.S.