Wearing a bullet-proof jacket marked "security," West gave a rambling speech in which he claimed he had wanted his wife, Kim Kardashian, to get an abortion and that renowned American abolitionist Harriet Tubman "never actually freed the slaves."
Marked by chaos, accusations against renowned American abolitionist Harriet Tubman and outbursts about abortion, rapper Kanye West has launched his unlikely campaign to oust Donald Trump as president.
Wearing a bullet-proof jacket marked "security," West gave a teary rambling speech on Sunday in which he claimed he had wanted his wife Kim Kardashian to get an abortion and that Tubman "never actually freed the slaves."
West told the event in Charleston, South Carolina on Sunday night how he had wanted his wife 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 mom 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!"
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West criticises Harriet Tubman
West, in his first event since declaring himself a presidential candidate, ranted against historical figure Harriet Tubman, saying the Underground Railroad conductor “never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people,” comments that drew shouts of opposition from some in the crowd.
Tubman is one of the most respected figures of 19th century America. An African American who escaped slavery, she helped enslaved Black men and women travel north to freedom and fought for the Union during the Civil War. She later became a supporter of women's suffrage.
West said that while he believes it should be legal, financial incentives to help struggling mothers could be a way to discourage the practice.
“Everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars,” he said as an example.
Wearing a protective vest and with “2020” shaved into his head, the entertainer appeared on a livestream of the event.
West's speech, clips of which went viral on social media, provoked confusion, anger and concern for the musician's mental health.
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.
Less than four months ahead of November's election, West, 43, raised eyebrows on July 4 when he announced on Twitter he would challenge Trump.
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 Trump –– said he no longer supports the president.
Reports began circulating in US media last week that West had dropped out of the race.
He missed the deadline in several states to be listed on the presidential ballot, but he is listed on the ballot in Oklahoma.