Will.i.am and Chris Brown have joined the ranks of people who were shocked by Kanye West’s recent suggestion that slavery was a “choice.” The Black Eyed Peas frontman shared his thoughts on the controversy during an appearance on Good Morning Britain on Wednesday, May 2.
“That broke my heart because I thought about my grandma, who was born in 1920, and her connection with her mom who raised her, who was born in the late 1800s, and my grandmother’s grandma, who was a slave,” will.i.am, 43, told the cohosts of the British morning show. “And when you’re a slave, you’re owned. You don’t choose if you’re owned. When you’re a slave you’re deprived of education. That’s not choice, that’s by force.”
The music producer said that while he understands the idea of “free thought,” people should still ensure that their ideas are sufficiently “researched.”
“That statement was one of the most ignorant statements that anybody that came from the hood could ever say about their ancestors, that slavery is a choice,” will.i.am continued. “What are you talking about? That’s not Kanye. To me, that’s a different person that’s saying that. And I hope it’s not to raise awareness so you could sell a record and some shoes because that would be the worst thing to do, to stir up this very touchy race situation and you be the benefactor from it. So I encourage you, if you really believe this, give your shoes away for free, give your album away for free.”
The “I Gotta Feeling” rapper continued the conversation over on his Twitter account. He wrote in a series of tweets on Wednesday that slavery is “not & never was by choice” and that “to say that was [slaves’] choice is to blame it all on our ancestors & it Disrespects their suffering.”
Will.i.am was just one of the many celebrities who denounced West’s comments. Brown, 28, wrote on Instagram, “THIS IS JUST ENTERTAINMENT TO YALL. I DONT GIVE A F–K!!!! THIS MAN IS A CLOWN! … WHATEVER HELP U THINK I NEED…. GET IT FOR HIM ASAP! IMA FAN OF THIS MANS MUSIC SO WHAT HE SAYS IS LISTENED TO AND INTERNALIZED. WAKE THE HELL UP KANYE…. PLEASE. SLAVERY WAS A CHOICE???????? Whattttttt??????”
Meanwhile, Kevin Hart told BigBoyTV, “I don’t agree with where he is or the way he’s going about getting to the punchline or the point of what he’s doing.” And Eve said on The Talk, “I am done with Kanye!”
As previously reported, West, 40, made his controversial remarks during an appearance on TMZ Live on Tuesday, May 1. One of the website’s staffers, Van Lathan, stood up in the middle of the newsroom and called out the “Waves” rapper, saying, “You’re entitled to believe whatever you want, but there is fact and real world, real life consequence behind everything that you just said.”
West clarified his comments in a series of tweets on Tuesday night. “To make myself clear. Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will,” he wrote. “My point is for us to have stayed in that position even though the numbers were on our side means that we were mentally enslaved. They cut our tongues so we couldn’t communicate to each other. I will not allow my tongue to be cut.”
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