Celebrities criticize Kanye West's slavery comments

The rapper's comments during a TMZ interview drew immediate condemnation and some applauded a TMZ senior producer for challenging him.
6:33 | 05/03/18

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Transcript for Celebrities criticize Kanye West's slavery comments
Reporter: This is what some call the old Kanye. Rapping in his 2004 hit "Jesus walks." And this is Kanye west now. Tonight surrounded by a cloud of criticism after making these comments on TMZ live yesterday. You hear about slavery for 400 years, for 400 years? That sound like a choice. Like you was there for 400 years and it's all y'all? You know, like -- it's like, we're mentally in prison. Reporter: The star immediately confronted by TMZ staffer van Latham. I'm appalled, and brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something to me that's not real. I thought it was incumbent upon me to speak directly to Kanye west. I'm sorry I hurt you --py. You've got to be responsible. He was so off-base on what he said about slavery that it was important for him to know before he speaks to something that serious, he needs to know what he's talking about. Reporter: Overnight, west's comments going viral. The backlash online quick and unapologetic. One Twitter user saying, to say slavery was a choice isn't only deluded, it's insensitive, it's hateful, it's demeaning. Kanye's most recent comments about slavery, it sounds like he's lost his ever-loving mind, what was left of it. Reporter: The artist later clarifying writing, of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat of free will. My point is for us to have stayed in that position, even though the numbers were on our side, means we were mentally enslaved." He would later delete the tweets. Kanye west has a massive platform. When he speaks it reaches millions of people. What he's done with his latest comments on slavery being a choice, it's ignorant, it's irresponsible. There's something about putting slavery and choice together that many call misguided. Slavery was not a choice. Slavery was a crime. You know, nobody chooses to be a slave. Reporter: Radio host charlemagne THA god spoke to west in a much-anticipated interview released online yesterday. Nearly two hours, the interview hit on topics like mental health and west's apparent reverence for Donald Trump. A guy like him who's clearly trying to marginalize and oppress people that look like you. How can I support somebody who is oppressing and marginalizing me and people that look like me? That's get for Kanye west. 100%. That's what I said to him in the interview. And he had no answer. I don't have all the answers that a celebrity's supposed to have, but I could tell you when he was running, it's like I felt something. Reporter: The interview was filmed the week before Kanye tweeted this picture of himself in a "Make America great 15" hat. Kanye believes that as an artist, he can use his gifts to take symbols of hate and turn them into symbols of love. Nah. I mean, you know, he said that in reference to the "Make America great again" hat. Something I told him, in order to repurpose something, you have to know the meaning of the thing that you're repurposing. Make America great again slogan does not apply to minorities because America was never great for us. Reporter: Mr. West has never shied away from taboo topibles like politics. George Bush doesn't care about black people. Reporter: He's known for creating controversial moments on a national stage. From snatching that microphone at the VMAs -- I'm really happy for you, I'ma let you finish. But Beyonce have one of the best videos of all-time. Reporter: Provocative music videos. At a time when debate rages over race, like the legacy of confederate monuments -- You will not replace us! Reporter: And after white nationalists rallied in charlottesville, critics say his words matter now more than ever. Kanye has a long history of saying inflammatory things. But this one -- the stakes are a little higher. You're disparaging the history of African-Americans in this country. You talked to Kanye after the statement? Oh, yeah, 100%. What was that conversation like? You know, Kanye had told me the context of what he was trying to say. So I understood it a little better. I think he -- when he said slavery was a choice in his mind he was talking about psychological slavery. You know, in his mind he's saying, even if I am a slave, I have a choice to remain a slave, I can -- I can't give you points for what you were trying to say, I got to judge you base off what you said. What he said was, slavery was a choice, and that was just stupid. Reporter: Now, 17 months after his November 2016 hospitalization, west disclosing to charlemagne details of the struggles that led him to seek medical help. That was the scariest moment of my life. Reporter: The hip-hop multi-talent said his nine-day stay at a UCLA medical center, not a breakdown but a breakthrough, brought on in part by stress from the at gunpoint robbery of his wife Kim Kardashian west in Paris just one month earlier. I'm sorry, family emergency, I have to stop the show. I went to Paris on that trip to protect her. One of the things that she said she heard is that they were coming to rob her, and they had to wait till I had left. Reporter: And in his TMZ interview, revealing this. I got liposuction. Because I didn't want y'all to call me fat like y'all called rob at the wedding. I was addicted on opioids. Two days I got off of opioids I'm in hospital -- Where's Kanye's head at, is he healthy? I really don't know. In the interview we talked about mental health a lot. He spoke about being on meds. So I'm on TMZ saying he was addicted to opioids. He was talking about liposuction. He talked about losing all his confidence. Like -- I mean, that sounds like, you know, low self-esteem -- I still think he's grieving over the death of his mom. It's a lot, you know. So -- when I talked to him about being creative when it comes to music, where he wants to go with his company, he's clear on all of that. Reporter: West's reps declined our request for further comment. Tonight some critics saying the talent behind songs like "All of the life" -- ??? all of the life ??? Reporter: -- May just be using his latest rant as a boost for album sales. Regardless, some fans, disheartened by how the icon has chosen to use his platform. For "Nightline," I'm Zachary kiesch in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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