The rapper, 41, attempted to clarify his comment one day after captioning a Twitter photo of himself wearing a pro-Donald Trump Make America Great Again hat, writing, “This represents good and America becoming whole again. We will no longer outsource to other countries. We build factories here in America and create jobs. We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment. Message sent with love.”
West even doubled down on his remarks, tweeting: “Slavery in disguise, meaning it never ended.”
During an interview with TMZ on Monday, West explained his tweet that enraged many fans and followers — including actor Chris Evans and singer Lana Del Rey — for advocating the abolishment of the 13th Amendment, which outlaws slavery.
“What I want to say is ‘abolish’ was the wrong language. I misspoke by saying abolish. ‘Amend’ is the right language,” the father of three said. “What’s awesome, I don’t say dope because there’s power in words. So lovely, what’s beautiful about our Constitution is we can amend it, right?”
West then continued to explain his reasoning, even reading a statement that was put together by his childhood friend and rapper GLC, whose birth name is Leonard D. Harris.
“I’m going to read to you something that my friend GLC from Chicago wrote to me because he puts a lot of energy understanding historical facts,” West said. “In 1865, the 13th amendment stated that no man is destined to slavery or involuntary servitude unless convicted of a crime. This translates to: in order to make a freed man a slave, all you have to do is convict them of a crime.”
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When asked if prison is being used “as a pretext to bring involuntary servitude back,” West clarified by giving examples.
“There’s people getting paid eight cents a week working for companies that are privately owned. A lot of them are first-time offenders, a lot of them are non-violent crimes. And then also we’re not dealing with mental health and therapy because I’m going to say that I stand on the majority of people are imprisoned are there due to a reaction to a situation that they are in,” he said. “A reaction to not having understanding of how to create industry because their dad didn’t have a business so they didn’t know how to make money. Not having access to currently legalized forms of industry. Also being brainwashed to feel like they are taking a side, red or blue. A gang side or this is my block, a block that they don’t even own taking a side.”
West added, “And then that gets promoted in the music and then the music isn’t even owned by the people saying these things. And then the next thing you know you get all these people in jail.”
Circling back to his explanation of his 13th Amendment remark, West also shared his new proposition.
“There should be a group of super knowledgeable people that come from all cultures that then make the amendments on our Constitution. I didn’t say modern, I didn’t say new. Because that notes a specific time, and time is used to control us and to control our energy. So there needs to be people who look like the people who are being spoken about,” he said.
His interview with TMZ comes days after his lengthy off-air, pro-Trump rant at Saturday Night Live.
The unrehearsed monologue was met with some boos from the audience while making the show’s stars “uncomfortable,” a source recently told PEOPLE.
West, who was wearing a Make America Great Again hat, began the controversial performance by singing, “I wanna cry right now. Black man in America, you’re supposed to keep what you feel inside right now. And the liberals bully you and tell you what you can and cannot wear, where you and they can’t not stare. And they look at me and say, ‘It’s not fair. How the hell did you get here?’ Well…”
He continued, “It’s so many times that I talk to a white person about this, and they say, ‘How could you support Trump? He’s racist.’ Well if I was concerned about racism, I would have moved out of America a long time ago. We don’t just make our decisions off of racism. I’ma break it down to you right now: If someone inspires me and I connect with them, I don’t have to believe in all they policies.”