Here’s what went down at Kayne West’s presidential campaign launch in Charleston

By Harriet Piercy

Published Jul 20, 2020 at 11:55 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

After recently announcing that he will be running for president in the 2020 US election, rapper Kanye West officially launched his presidential campaign. West set up an unusual rally in Charleston, South Carolina, wearing a bulletproof vest and a bold 2020 styled into the back of his head. His mental stability seemed downright wobbly as he broke down into squeals about abortion, Harriet Tubman and dished out some ridiculous new policy propositions.

What did Kanye West say at his campaign launch?

First of all, West boasted that his “brain was too big for his skull,” which sounds uncomfortable, to say the least. There were no microphones at the rally, which forced him to repeatedly tell the crowd to be quiet, but we heard him loud and clear—and almost wished we hadn’t.

What did Kanye West say about abortion?

West started to cry as he opened up about abortion, admitting to his uncertainty in having his own first child with his wife. “I almost killed my daughter… even if my wife [Kim Kardashian West] were to divorce me after this speech, she brought North into the world, even when I didn’t want to,” West told the crowd. He also added that his own parents almost aborted him too: “There would have been no Kanye West, because my dad was too busy.”

However, following up on this, West said that abortion should remain legal, but that every new mother should be given more financial support, and suggested that “everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars.”

What did Kanye West say about Harriet Tubman?

West went on to then criticise the great 19th century abolitionist Harriet Tubman by saying “Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people,” which has caused an uproar between fellow rappers such as Q Tip and 50 Cent who posted an Instagram clip of West’s speech with the caption “What the f*** did he just say? This is all Jay Z’s fault. Kanye’s first rally. LOL.”

Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman risked her life by escaping and went on to rescue approximately 70 people using a network of antislavery activists and safehouses known as the Underground Railroad. Author of The Hate You Give, Angie Thomas tweeted “If y’all don’t stop disturbing Harriet Tubman’s spirit with this foolishness…”

Is Kanye West mentally okay?

The rally was met with anger and controversy but also concern for West’s welfare. Professor Jason Nichols told the BBC that he feared West’s rambling pointed towards a “manic episode.” Nichols also admitted that West had been battling with mental illness in the past, and that the rapper was inconsistent in taking his medication.

Fellow rapper JPEGMAFIA also tweeted “I just hope Kanye is ok. I don’t really know what else to say here.” Songwriter and producer Finneas O’Connell, Billie Eilish’s brother, said: “Let’s completely disregard politics. Kanye is going through an episode and needs love and care from his friends and family.”

Many complained about West receiving ‘special treatment’ compared to what someone else saying the same things he did would face—anyone else would get cancelled in a second.

Does Kanye West still stand a chance of being the next US president?

Having missed multiple deadlines to qualify for the ballot in several states, West still needs to get enough signatures in many others. Last week, he appeared to have met the requirements in Oklahoma. We have until (18:00 BST) today to find out if he has collected the 10,000 signatures from South Carolina.

Is this campaign launch just another PR stunt for Kanye West?

Previously, fans and media outlets questioned whether West’s last-minute bid for the White House was just another one of the rapper’s promotional stunts. The Charleston rally did little to clarify West’s position in the 2020 US presidential election, but a tweet sent from West’s account on Saturday concerning the song list for a new album added to the speculation. The tweet was shortly deleted.

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