During a visit to TMZ headquarters on Tuesday, Kanye West seemed to blame black people for slavery in America.
"When you hear about slavery for 400 years...for 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” Kanye said. "You were there for 400 years and it's all of y'all. It's like we're mentally imprisoned."
TMZ employee Van Lathan--who is also black--took issue with Kanye’s assessment and confronted the rapper, telling him, "While you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you've earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives. We have to deal with the marginalization that's come from the 400 years of slavery that you said for our people was a choice."
Lathan added, "Frankly, I'm disappointed, I'm appalled, and brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something to me, that's not real."
Kanye late clarified his comments on Twitter, writing, “Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will. 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."