Rapper Kanye West once again waded into political territory this weekend, hitting back against those who criticise his vocal support for President Donald Trump.
Yesterday afternoon, West took the stage in Utah’s Salt Lake City as part of his ongoing “Sunday Service” musical tour, a weekly church-like ceremony which kicked off in January this year and may or may not be a method of promoting his upcoming album, titled “Jesus Is King.”
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While some of the star-studded events have been held in private, this weekend’s took place in front of between 7,000 and 10,000 people, Deseret News reported.
It was granted permits on Friday and happened without much prior warning, the same day as the Mormon religion’s 189th Semiannual General Conference.
Typically, the singer performs spiritual versions of his songs while backed up by a choir, Variety reported in March. Yesterday he only performed one song, called “Jesus Walks,” but took the opportunity to address several topics on his mind, including the Republican Party and the dangers of social media.
Speaking to the crowd, who circled the stage area, West said: “They try to tell me because of my color who I’m supposed to pick as the president. You’re black, so you can’t like Trump. I ain’t never made a decision only based off my color. That’s a form of slavery, mental slavery.
“All these mind controllers, the media, all of these mind controllers. I find that wherever Christ is where I’ve got my mind at. We find that the love of Christ is where I’ve got my mind back.”
The popular rapper, who has not tweeted since January 1 this year, and has previously deleted his profiles in the past without warning, said people should ignore social media.
“Do not read comments on the internet,” West said. “These people don’t know you like that. Social media is designed to make you think slower.… They want to slow you down to control you.” West’s comments spread online after being uploaded to Twitter by user Hunter Schwarz.
West has a lengthy, and often complicated, relationship with the president. In April last year, he tweeted to say they shared “dragon energy,” which Trump himself later said was “very cool!”
“He is my brother,” West wrote. “I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.”
Shortly after, the singer clarified: “My wife just called me and she wanted me to make this clear to everyone. I don’t agree with everything Trump does. I don’t agree 100% with anyone but myself.”
In May, he was widely criticized for comments made about slavery during an interview with TMZ. “When you hear about slavery for 400 years: For 400 years, that sounds like choice,” he said.
An appearance on Saturday Night Live (SNL) last September didn’t go to plan either, with West being caught on camera claiming he had been bullied backstage for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. He was booed following a performance in which he praised the president.