Rapper Kanye West held his first presidential campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina on Sunday. In a rambling speech during a chaotic rally, the billionaire music and fashion celebrity criticised Harriet Tubman, broke down crying about abortion, promised to legalise marijuana, and pledged a million dollars to every pregnant woman who gives birth.
He took to a makeshift stage wearing a bulletproof vest and had “2020” shaved in on his head. West, 43, is running as a candidate for his self-styled “Birthday Party.”
It soon became clear that the event was not well planned. There was no microphone or podium, and the rapper’s shouted comments were often drowned out by the jeers of the audience.
At one point he broke down crying when talking about abortion, saying that his parents almost aborted him.
“There would have been no Kanye West, because my dad was too busy.”
He added: “I almost killed my daughter… even if my wife [Kim Kardashian West] were to divorce me after this speech, she brought North into the world, even when I didn’t want to.”
West also launched into a diatribe about how prescription drugs were also altering societal perception of reality. He also proudly boasted about his own 132-point IQ and how he went “to the hospital because my brain was too big for my skull.”
At another point, West rallied against black iconography used by white organisations, specifically citing Harriet Tubman as an example.
“She didn’t free the slaves, she had them go work for other white people,” he remarked.
When a young woman took the stage to challenge Kanye on his views of abortion, West maintained that he was not against abortion.
Instead, he said America needs to do a better job supporting pregnant women and proposed giving every pregnant woman $1 million in order to see their pregnancy through, prompting cynical laughter from the audience.
The atmosphere turned contentious towards the end when a rally-goer challenged West’s interpretation of the Bible. He exited the stage to a mixture of cheers and boos.
The eccentric rapper also threatened to cease his relationship with sportswear maker Adidas and clothing firm Gap unless the companies put him on their boards. He encouraged his followers to stop watching porn, and said, if elected, marijuana “would be legal and free.”
The rally took place ahead of tomorrow’s filing deadline in South Carolina. In order to get on the state’s ballot, Kanye needs to get 10,000 signatures.
Many have questioned whether his last-minute bid for the White House is actually a promotional stunt.
Amid all this, West is also set to release a new album. In a since-deleted tweet posted last night, he announced he’ll be releasing an album called Donda next Friday.