- 20 Jul 20
“Everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars,” he said at one point.
Kanye West has held his first official campaign event for the 2020 US Presidential race in South Carolina last night, brewing controversy and causing walk-outs over his comments on abortion and Harriet Tubman.
Despite rumours swirling that the rapper, fashion designer and producer had dropped out of the race, West gave a lengthy speech which ended in tears after stating that Harriet Tubman "never actually freed the slaves".
The rambling speech was posted to social media by members of the crowd and reporters, and was met with numerous groans as West made bizarre and factually incoherent statements.
“Harriet Tubman just had them work for other white people,” he said, despite facts noting that the historical figure gave slaves their autonomy and offered them paid work rather than free labour.
Kanye said this and I left immediately. I went for a laugh and I got one. But when it got disrespectful for me it was over. pic.twitter.com/nNqjUp03mu
— Little Pimp (@toekneerlynos) July 19, 2020
Tubman is one of the most respected figures of 19th century America as a Black woman who escaped slavery.
She helped enslaved black men and women travel north to freedom and fought for the Union during the Civil War, later becoming a supporter of women’s suffrage.
However, he did issue a tweet yesterday using wordplay to seemingly back up his comments on running for the White House, writing only “THE WEST WING”.
In another moment, West shared a story about how he and wife Kim Kardashian West almost had an abortion, which is when he became emotional about his own past and biological father.
West said that while he believed abortion should be legal, financial incentives to help struggling mothers could be a way to discourage the practice.
Crying on stage, the surprise rally was held at the Exquis Event Center in North Charleston and was "for registered guests only."
According to ABC News, all attendees were asked to sign a COVID-19 liability release form, social distance and wear a mask.
West teased the event after taking to social media on Saturday expressing his hope to acquire signatures to get on the ballot in the state.
"Hi guys please sign up to put me on the ballot in South Carolina at any of these locations," West wrote, sharing a list of locations. "You can also sign up at the website kanye2020.country."
That same day, West teased his highly-anticipated forthcoming album DONDA in a tweet that has since been deleted, but screenshots of the tracklist have circulated online.
The rapper announced on July 4 that he planned to run for president in 2020.
"We must now realise the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States," West tweeted, along with the hashtag #2020VISION.
West reportedly was placed on the Oklahoma ballot earlier this week, marking his first state.
West has missed the deadline to qualify for the ballot in numerous states, and it is currently very unclear if he is willing or able to collect enough signatures required to qualify in others.
Kanye West crying on stage at his campaign event in South Carolina pic.twitter.com/GsHAnZQG1c
— STRAPPED! | Hip-Hop/Rap News (@STRAPPEDUS) July 19, 2020