New York (AFP) – Rap superstar Kanye West’s professed love for President Donald Trump sent new shockwaves Friday through the music world with Chance the Rapper apologizing for seemingly sympathetic remarks.
West, re-emerging from a year-long absence as he promotes upcoming albums and his fashion line, on Wednesday tweeted his “love” of “my brother” Trump and appeared wearing one of the president’s signature “Make America Great Again” caps.
Twitter observers noted an exodus of leading artists who unfollowed West including Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar and Drake.
But one rare voice of support was Chance the Rapper, a fast-rising star from West’s hometown of Chicago who tweeted, “Black people don’t have to be Democrats” and predicted that the next US president will be an independent.
Trump, unaccustomed to defenders in the celebrity world, on Friday thanked Chance on Twitter and said that “eyes are being opened for the first time in decades” as he touted low unemployment rates among minorities.
Chance, whose father is a Democratic operative in Chicago who worked for the then future president Barack Obama, on Friday apologized and said he only wanted to support West, whom he said was such a mentor that he felt like family.
“I’d never support anyone who has made a career out of hatred, racism and discrimination,” Chance tweeted in reference to Trump.
Chance said his comments were ill-timed but that Chicago has had “generations of Democratic officials with no investment or regard for black schools, neighborhood(s) or black lives.”
“We have to talk honestly about what is happening and has been happening in this country and we have to challenge those who are responsible, as well as those who are giving them a pass,” said Chance, whose charity last year pledged $2.2 million for arts programs in Chicago public schools.
– Not yet ‘conservative’ –
West met Trump in 2016 after the rapper cut short a tour following a breakdown. But West has said little about why he admires the real estate tycoon, who came to political prominence promoting unfounded conspiracy theories about Obama’s place of birth.
West — who famously said in 2005 that then president George W. Bush “doesn’t care about black people” — tweeted on Friday: “I haven’t done enough research on conservatives to call myself or be called one. I’m just refusing to be enslaved by monolithic thought.”
Singer John Legend, a vociferous critic of Trump, tried to persuade West on Trump in a text message — which the rapper promptly posted on Twitter.
Legend, speaking Friday to New York radio station Hot 97, said he was initially shocked but later content that West shared his text, in which Legend asked the rapper to exercise his influence wisely.
The “All of Me” singer noted on Twitter that the black unemployment figures touted by Trump had started to go down under Obama.
“The defining trait of Trump’s campaign and political profile was his embrace of white supremacy. He made it clear every time he spoke,” Legend tweeted.
“Some serious cognitive dissonance to ignore that for the other x% you might find appealing.”