Kanye West’s embrace of the far right came to a head on Tuesday when he appeared on TMZ Live and told hosts Harvey Levin and Charles Latibeaudiere that slavery in the United States “sounds like a choice.” Kanye faced plenty of outrage on the internet, but TMZ’s Van Lathan took him to task to his face, and quickly became a hero.
Now, TMZ has shared a 12 minute “extended cut” of the encounter. Kanye starts with a discussion of his meeting with President-elect Donald Trump soon after the election, during which he claims he was “drugged the fuck out” from an opioid addiction, which he developed after a liposuction procedure. But he’s off medication now, Kanye says: “These pills that they want me to take three of a day? I take one a week, maybe, two a week. Y’all had me scared of myself, of my vision.”
The new footage also includes more of Van Lathan’s viral dressing-down of Kanye, who said that his view of the world is “grounded in reality,” unlike Kanye’s. “[Van] said grounded in reality,” Kanye responds, “this reality has been forced on us. It is a choice, like when I said slavery was a choice… We can talk about history, but not too long. We need to focus on our now.”
Kanye then went on to claim that black people don’t speak up on the issue of black-on-black crime, a persistent right wing talking point, which Van pushes back on vigorously. “That’s a lie… There are black people everyday, boots on the ground, all over the place, that are… working to fix this problem… The people that are doing this work in communities everyday, they don’t get the type of reverence… that other people do.”
After calling TMZ “the hospital that will fix the world,” Kanye offers Trump praise for cutting small business regulations and apologizes to Van “for disappointing” him. “I’m just doing what the universe told me,” he said. Speaking with Complex on Wednesday, Van said he was no longer looked up to Kanye: “I feel sad that I lost a hero.”