Back at it again with the poor communication—rapper Kanye West trots out an old rumor about the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
On Monday, a reporter for TMZ ran into West (who recently pulled a P Diddy and announced he now wants to be known simply as “Ye”) leaving Santa Monica eatery Mel’s Drive-in (where he “suggests the chicken wings—they’re fire!”) and he took the opportunity to ask West about his now viral and very controversial 13th Amendment comments over the weekend.
What Kanye came back with, no one expected—an admission that he needs to “do more research” before speaking anymore about the 13th Amendment and an allusion to rumors that call into question President Lincoln’s lineage:
The last few days have been busy for Ye, first appearing in one of two musical performances on Saturday Night Live in a bizarre getup as a bottle of Perrier water to perform I Love It with Lil Pump and Adele Givens, after which he wore a signature President Trump Make America Great Again cap and delivered a meandering speech that alleged he’d been bullied backstage to not wear the MAGA hat, which resulted in “boos” from the crowd.
That moment then caught a bit more steam after the President’s namesake son took to Twitter to defend him and President Trump himself tweeted in support of the rapper/designer.
Like many, I don’t watch Saturday Night Live (even though I past hosted it) – no longer funny, no talent or charm. It is just a political ad for the Dems. Word is that Kanye West, who put on a MAGA hat after the show (despite being told “no”), was great. He’s leading the charge!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2018
Never one to let something lie, Ye then hit up Twitter to make his incomplete thoughts on the 13th amendment known. (Some contend that the amendment, ratified in 1865 in an attempt to abolish slavery and involuntary servitude in America, doesn’t go far enough and may even have extended slavery.)
The tweet, which features a shot of Ye donning his MAGA cap, yet again, says:
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
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
What Ye (very clumsily) and others assert here is that the second half of Section 1 of the 13th Amendment resulted in a state of mass incarceration in America, wherein African Americans are imprisoned at a dramatically disproportionate rate, when compared with other ethnic groups. They further claim that the 13th Amendment has effectively continued slavery in a more modern institutionalized form, helping to entrench racism in this country to this day.
According to a piece on Solidarity:
The significance of the 13th Amendment is dual: a recognition of the end of slavery by war, and an olive branch to the defeated Confederates and white supremacists with the clause, “except as a punishment for crime whereof, the party shall have been duly convicted.” That clause has undermined racial relations for more than 100 years.
True to his word, Ye sat down with TMZ’s Harvey Levin to further explain his 13th Amendment comments and clarify his word choice:
Though there have long been rumors that Abraham Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks, was of African American descent, no formal proof has been found to substantiate this claim—which of course, was most likely what West was asserting in the clip with his comment.
But most folks online at this point appear to be fed up with the artist espousing ANY opinions on ANY political or social matter due to his lack in ability to cogently articulate or support his points:
— Binford Carter (@sebeku2) October 1, 2018
OMG I’m starting to feel sorry for this dude, he’s spiraling.
— Tru ♐️ (@t_berry99) October 1, 2018
Hi Kim, you need to come get him! Get him some help, quick…for real. This no longer funny. He need real help.
— Pat McNeil (@mcneilpd) October 1, 2018
@NMAAHC … schedule a private tour for him and educate this man!
— Terence Peete (@tbonefromny) October 1, 2018
As for a definitive answer to the question of Lincoln’s ethnicity, this is one controversial topic that Ye actually seemed to sidestep with a bit more grace, saying simply, “I can’t say that Lincoln was black or white.”
Let’s hope he makes it a trend.