Kanye West declared earlier this year that the "mob" can't make him abandon President Donald Trump. Following months of criticism from hip-hop fans, recording artists and friends alike over his support for the president, the rapper remains undeterred.
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During an appearance on "Saturday Night Live" this week, West wore a “Make America Great Again” hat and dove into a passionate, pro-Trump rant on live TV -- one that continued even after the show ended.
On Sunday afternoon, amid backlash over his "SNL" appearance, the rapper tweeted a photo of himself wearing a red hat with the MAGA campaign slogan, writing that "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."
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 pic.twitter.com/a15WqI8zgu— ye (@kanyewest) September 30, 2018
The thirteenth amendment abolished slavery in the U.S., "except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted."
West later tweeted that "the 13th Amendment is slavery in disguise meaning it never ended We are the solution that heals." In another tweet he added "not abolish but. let's amend the 13th amendment We apply everyone's opinions to our platform."
Trump, who has repeatedly touted West’s support, gave him a reciprocal shoutout on Sunday morning.
“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!” the president tweeted.
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
"So if African-American unemployment is now at the lowest number in history, median income the highest, and you then add all of the other things I have done, how do Democrats, who have done NOTHING for African-Americans but TALK, win the Black Vote? And it will only get better!" Trump wrote in a second tweet, echoing a point that West brought up during his "SNL" appearance, where he criticized African-American support for Democrats.
West told the “SNL” audience Saturday night that he was “bullied” backstage for wearing the Trump hat, and pushed back on people who have previously criticized him for supporting the president.
"They bullied me backstage. They said, 'don't go out there with that hat on.' They bullied me backstage. They bullied me! And then they say I'm in a sunken place," West said. "You want to see the sunken place? Okay, I'ma listen to ya'll now — or I'ma put my Superman cape on, cause this means you can't tell me what to do.”
The term “sunken place” originates from the 2017 horror movie “Get Out,” and refers to brainwashing someone to detach their consciousness from their body. It has come to stand for the silencing of marginalized voices by an oppressive system.
“Follow your heart and stop following your mind. That's how we're controlled. That's how we're programmed. If you want the world to move forward, try love," Kanye said during his SNL speech. West also claimed that “ninety percent” of the media is liberal and lamented the lack of “balance.”
Later, in a portion of his speech that took place after the NBC feed was cut, West talked about racism and his support for Trump. A portion of his speech was shared on comedian Chris Rock’s Instagram story Saturday night.
“And so many times I talk to, like, a white person about this and they say, ‘How could you like Trump? He’s racist.’ Well, uh, if I was concerned about racism I would’ve moved out of America a long time ago,” said West.
His speech prompted both boos and claps from the audience.
Here's a look back and West's relationship with Trump:
Days after the 2016 general election, West shocked fans when he declared his support for Trump at a November 2016 concert in California. The show ended with a political rant where West said that if he had voted for a presidential candidate, he would have voted for Trump.
This came as a surprise to many. West previously attended a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with his wife, Kim Kardashian West, in August 2015.
In December of 2016 the rapper famously met with then-candidate Trump at Trump Tower in New York City, where they both posed for pictures.
According to a series of tweets, West said that he met with Trump to discuss "education," "violence in Chicago" and "multicultural issues.” But days later the rapper deleted all of his tweets defending that meeting, prompting some fans to wonder if he might have had a change of heart.
However, in April of this year, the rapper defiantly confirmed his support for the president, tweeting a picture of himself wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. Amid the backlash, he said that his wife asked him to clarify that he doesn't "agree with everything Trump does."
You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don't agree with everything anyone does. That's what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.— ye (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
"You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him," he wrote. "We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don't agree with everything anyone does. That's what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought."
"Thank you Kanye, very cool!" Trump tweeted in response.
Thank you Kanye, very cool! https://t.co/vRIC87M21X— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2018
For decades, Trump -- who was a real estate developer and reality television star -- was hailed in hundreds of hip-hop songs for his wealth and power. West, along with artists like Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar and Jeezy, name-checked Trump in their music as a symbol of status and success.
But Trump’s policies and rhetoric, particularly when it comes to race and race relations in America, has changed the dynamic between Trump and many hip-hop artists.
West's outspoken support for the president is unique in hip-hop, where artists and activists have largely rallied against the president in music lyrics, social media posts and public appearances. Artists like John Legend, T.I. and Snoop Dogg have publicly criticized West for his support of the president.
Earlier this year, West released a back-and-forth track based on an actual political conversation he had with T.I., who is has become of the most outspoken Trump critics in hip-hop.
In “Ye vs. the People,” featuring T.I. as “the people,” the Atlanta rapper challenges West about his support for Trump and the two artists engage in a political debate about free speech, divisions and racism in America.
In the song, T.I. accuses West of having "blatant disregard for the people who put you in position" with his support for Trump: "This s--- is stubborn, selfish, bullheaded, even for you. You wore a dusty-a-- hat to represent the same views. As white supremacy, man, we expect better from you."
Meanwhile, West argued that by wearing the "MAGA" hat, he is giving it new meaning.
"Make America Great Again had a negative perception. I took it, wore it, rocked it, gave it a new direction," raps Kanye. "Added empathy, care and love and affection And y'all simply questionin' my methods."