Kanye West tweets about 13th Amendment

October 2, 2018

On Sunday, Sept. 30, rapper Kanye West posted a series of tweets commenting on a controversial topic of which many think he has little to no prior knowledge about: the 13th Amendment of the Constitution.

The now deleted tweet said “[T]his 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[.]” Accompanying the tweet, West included a photo of himself wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap. The statement follows West’s appearance on Saturday Night Live’s Season 44 premiere, where he delivered an unaired speech about President Donald Trump. 

The 13th Amendment, ratified in 1865 near the end of the Civil War, abolished slavery in the United States. Its original language is as follows: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

In response to West, actor Chris Evans tweeted, “There’s nothing more maddening than debating someone who doesn’t know history, doesn’t read books, and frames their myopia as virtue.”

Singer Lana Del Rey addressed both West’s words and his open support of Trump in an Instagram comment: “Trump becoming our president was a loss for the country but your support of him is a loss for the culture. I can only assume you relate to his personality on some level. Delusions of Grandeur, extreme issues of narcissism – none of which would be a talking point if we weren’t speaking about the man leading our country.”

Trump, on the other hand, praised West’s recent behavior in a tweet, though he has not directly addressed the 13th Amendment claims. “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!”

As usual with his ambiguous tweets, West leaves an audience scratching their heads and unsure if he should be taken seriously. Some think these statements are for publicity purposes.

“Kanye West is an internet troll; he understands how to get attention and uses it to advertise himself, even if it means portraying himself in a negative manner,” senior Nathan Huang said.

“Maybe he just tweeted it because he’s Kanye and he thinks he can do whatever he wants and he wants to encourage debate or he wants to incite outrage,” junior Ayesha Khawaja said.

After West’s initial tweet sparked outrage, he later clarified his claim: “the 13th Amendment is slavery in disguise[,] meaning it never ended   We are the solution that heals” He then added, “[N]ot abolish but let’s amend the 13th amendment”

However, as pointed out by Meagan Flynn of The Washington Post, the 13th Amendment included an exception clause, allowing for a “convenient sleight of hand” that has resulted in “prison slavery,” where prisoners are “forced to work for meager wages in contemptible conditions.” Amending the 13th Amendment could be the first step in solving this issue.

Following up on Oct. 1, West tweeted “Thank you Washington [P]ost[,]” linking Flynn’s article. Nevertheless, the original intent of West’s tweet is still open to interpretation. A few days later, the tweet was deleted.

“[The Washington Post article] only speculates a clarification of his word,” senior Emmanuel Corporal said. “If he meant trying to change that one flawed clause, he might have well used that terminology instead of saying [to abolish] the 13th Amendment altogether.”

Because of the lack of clarity in his initial tweets, many continue to contemplate West’s motives and thoughts behind the tweets.

UPDATE: This article was updated on October 8, 2018 to include information that Kanye West deleted his tweets.

Cover photo courtesy of Wikipedia under Creative Commons license. 

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