Kanye West: ‘I was used to spread messages I don’t believe in’

Musician’s comments come after meeting Donald Trump in White House earlier this month

Artist Kanye West opens up to US president Donald Trump about bipolar disorder, guns, hydrogen powered planes and a host of other issues in an atmosphere of "good energy." Video: Reuters

 

Rapper Kanye West, who earlier this month hugged Donald Trump in the Oval Office, declared on Tuesday that he had been “used to spread messages I don’t believe in” and would now be “distancing” himself from politics.

The statement is likely to come to a blow to the US president, who has touted West as a prominent black supporter even as his approval rating among African Americans barely touches double figures.

West’s primary falling out appears to be not with Trump but Candace Owens, a rising star of the right who was lavished with praise by the president at a gathering of young black conservatives at the White House last week.

On Twitter on Tuesday, West said he supports prison reform, common-sense gun laws and compassion for people seeking asylum, then denied that he had designed a logo for a branding exercise known as “Blexit,” which urges African Americans to leave the Democratic party. The concept, originated by Owens, claimed that West had designed the group’s merchandise.

Merchandise

“I introduced Candace to the person who made the logo and they didn’t want their name on it so she used mine,” West wrote. “I never wanted any association with Blexit. I have nothing to do with it.”

Evidently stung by the experience, he then followed up: “My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative !!!”

According to media reports, Owens had claimed that West designed the logo and colours of Blexit. On Monday, as controversy grew, she released a statement playing down his role, insisting: “BLEXIT is a project that is mine entirely. I am blessed that Ye [WEST]introduced me to a designer who despite having totally different beliefs than me, helped me craft some beautiful letters that I used on the BLEXIT caps.”

She added: “#BLEXIT is about the beautiful stories of so many black people who have awakened themselves to the possibilities of our future, as Americans. The press is trying to use Kanye’s name to create drama and further divisiveness which is WRONG.”

Owens, who grew up in a Democratic household, is now a fierce critic of the party. In one Twitter post, she says: “There is no group in America that has been more lied to, more abused, or more taken advantage of by the Democrats than black people.”

Candace Owens (centre) looks on as US president Donald Trump addresses young black conservative leaders from across the country as part of the 2018 Young Black Leadership Summit at the White House on October 26th in Washington, DC. Photograph: Pete Marovich/Getty
Candace Owens (centre) looks on as US president Donald Trump addresses young black conservative leaders from across the country as part of the 2018 Young Black Leadership Summit at the White House on October 26th in Washington, DC. Photograph: Pete Marovich/Getty

Criticism

During his bizarre visit to the White House recently, West commented: “You know, people expect that if you’re black you have to be Democrat. I’ve had conversations that basically said that welfare is the reason why a lot of black people end up being Democrat.”

In a rambling monologue that silenced even Trump, the rapper, sporting a “Make America Great Again” cap, told him: “It was something about when I put this hat on, it made me feel like Superman. You made a Superman. That’s my favourite superhero. And you made a Superman cape.”

West has faced widespread criticism for such comments and for his endorsement of a president who critics accuse of emboldening a movement of white nationalism through his words and deeds. The star has made baffling comments about abolishing the 13th Amendment and slavery being a choice.

Journalist Alex Wagner tweeted in response to West’s announcement: “Apparently Kanye did not understand that ‘sitting in the Oval Office with the president of the United States and railing against liberals’ would be seen as explicitly, uhm, political. But please (for real) go back to creative pursuits.” – Guardian