Kanye West posts video of John Legend playing Ordinary People on the piano

John Legend appears to condemn Kanye West after slavery comments

Rapper's comments in a TMZ interview drew widespread criticism from hundreds of prominent figures on social media. 

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Wednesday 02 May 2018 08:33

John Legend appeared to be among the many prominent artists, actors and directors condemning Kanye West after he suggested that 400 years of slavery was "a choice" in a filmed TMZ interview.

Following the controversial interview - where the rapper was confronted by an impassioned member of staff - many high profile figures in the entertainment industry tweeted a collective: "Enough."

Legend retweeted several posts including one by director Ava DuVernay, who wrote: "I've had it with Kanye West and R Kelly using the imagery of lynching as rebuttals re: their dastardly behaviour.

"Evoking racial terrorism and murder for personal gain/blame is stratospheric in its audacity and ignorance. This is what lynching looked like. How dare they?"

Legend had previously put aside his disagreement with West for supporting Trump, and invited him and his wife Kim Kardashian to Chrissy Teigen's surprise baby shower. West later shared a picture with Legend and wrote: "We got love. Agree to disagree."

However Legend now appears to have given up attempting to persuade West about the impact his comments have made.

He also shared a comment by Marc Lamont Hill who noted: "There has NEVER been a moment in history where Black people didn't resist slavery. Some did it by jumping off ships. Some killed masters. Some ran away. Some did it through everyday forms of resistance. Slave masters didn't retire. Our resistance led to our freedom."

Legend retweeted another post by a writer at The New Republic, Jeet Heer, who debunked a quote posted by West claiming to be by American abolitionist and acitivist Harriet Tubman: "I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves."

"1) Harriet Tubman never said that," Heer wrote. "2) This fake quote is actually pro-slavery since it implies that slaves deserved their condition because of ignorance or inherent servility. 3) Stop this."

American civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson tweeted: "Kanye's rhetoric continues to fuel the racist right-wing folks who believe that black people are responsible for their oppression."

Author David Baddiel, who is Jewish, reacted to West's comment where he said "Slavery is to blacks as the Holocaust is to Jews".

"So. Just a heads up, Kanye: that wasn't a choice, either," Baddiel tweeted.

Feminist author Roxane Gay wrote: "I don't have the energy for nonsense but Kanye saying slavery was a choice reiterates my previous statements about how dangerous his trite, shallow ramblings are. He is not a free thinker. He is a free moron who doesn't read."

Video producer and actor Quinta Brunson tweeted: "Kanye is honestly dangerous. Those of us who know better know he's wrong, but so much of his audience doesn't and they blindly follow him. He reminds me of his 'brother'."

Last week it was reported that several major stars "unfollowed" West on Twitter, including Drake, Rihanna, Legend, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz. The Independent was unable to verify when or why each person unfollowed him.

West has attempted to defend his comments, which you can read about here.

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