United States rapper and fashion designer Kanye West broke down in tears on Sunday at a rally to launch his surprise campaign for November’s presidential elections.
Wearing a bullet-proof jacket marked “security” and with 2020 shaved onto the back of his head, 43-year-old West gave an hour-long rambling speech in which he ranted about abortion and pornography, and argued policy with attendees.
West told the audience at a wedding and convention venue in Charleston, South Carolina, how he had wanted his wife, Kim Kardashian, to get an abortion when she was pregnant with North, their oldest daughter. He then revealed his father also had wanted to abort him.
“My dad wanted to abort me. My mum saved my life. There would’ve been no Kanye West because my dad was too busy,” West said, bursting into tears.
He later shouted, “I almost killed my daughter! I almost killed my daughter!”
West often appeared to be putting forward policy proposals on the fly, and made comments that left even those in attendance muttering in disbelief.
“Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people,” he said at one point when he was talking about economic inequality.
West’s speech was livestreamed on YouTube and clips later went viral on social media, provoking confusion, anger and concern for the musician’s mental health.
People with mental health issues don’t always say the correct things all the time. It doesn’t mean they’re racist or misogynistic. Judging them on these standards of speech when they need help is cruel. We should really just encourage Kanye West to get some help with compassion.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) July 20, 2020
In a year of way too many bad Presidential candidates, @kanyewest is definitely one too many.
— Hector O. Oseguera, Esq. (@Oseguera2020) July 20, 2020
First campaign event for @kanyewest, and what’s his strategy — Attack Harriet Tubman.
— Joseph Sakran (@JosephSakran) July 20, 2020
The event was for registered guests only, and all attendees were required to sign a COVID-19 liability release form as well as wear masks and practice social distancing, US media reported.
West announced his plan to challenge for the presidency in a tweet on July 4.
He has offered virtually no details about his campaign, but the hip-hop star – who famously wore a “Make America Great Again” cap to a 2018 Oval Office meeting with incumbent President Donald Trump – said he no longer supports the president.
West has missed the deadline in several ket states to be listed on the presidential ballot, although his name has been listed on the ballot in Oklahoma.