Rapper Kanye West has attempted to clarify his statement advocating the abolishment of the 13th Amendment, which outlaws slavery.
In a rambling video interview Monday at TMZ.com, West, 41 — who served as musical guest on "Saturday Night Live” this weekend and delivered an off-air political diatribe to the studio audience afterward — said, " 'Abolish' was the wrong language. I misspoke by saying 'abolish.' 'Amend' is the right language."
Focusing on the Amendment's clause that allows slavery and involuntary servitude for what it calls "a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted," West spoke hyperbolically about prisoners "getting paid eight cents a week working for companies that are privately owned and a lot of them are first-time offenders, a lot of them are [in for] nonviolent crimes." The nonpartisan Prison Policy Initiative, citing federal government figures, says most prisoner jobs pay between $7.23 and $14.45 per month.
West, a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, on Sunday had posted a photo of himself on social media wearing a Make America Great Again hat. "This represents good and America becoming whole again," he wrote. "We will no longer outsource to other countries. We build factories here in America and create jobs. We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment."
Sometime afterward he tweeted, "The 13th Amendment is slavery in disguise meaning it never ended. We are the solution that heals." He later added, "Not abolish but let's amend the 13th amendment. We apply everyone's opinions to our platform."
Actor Chris Evans and singer Lana Del Rey voiced strong objections, and filmmaker Ava DuVernay, who directed and co-wrote the 2016 feature documentary "13th," about the Amendment, tweeted, "I'm consciously choosing to tweet about plant-based burgers and not current statements about the 13th Amendment from a certain MAGA follower."
"Dancing With the Stars: Juniors" host Frankie Muniz took an equivocal approach, telling TMZ.com, "One thing I can say about him that I think is a positive . . . is the fact that he's speaking out [about] what he believes. Whether you agree with it or not . . . There's [sic] a lot of people who are afraid to say anything, right? Or say stuff but they don't even know what they're saying. He's very adamant about what he's saying and I give him props for that."