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Kanye West's Most Controversial Moments

Is the outspoken musical genius destroying or helping his personal brand?
Kanye West's Most Controversial Moments
Image credit: TMZ
Entrepreneur Staff
Editorial Director
5 min read

After a long hiatus, Kanye West returned to Twitter a few weeks ago -- and he did not do it quietly. Recently, he’s tweeted his admiration for controversial conservative commentator Candace Owens and professed brotherly love for Donald Trump. Yesterday, he sent his 28 million followers a link to an interview with TMZ where he made extremely contentious remarks about the history of slavery in America.

Related: These Social Media Fails Got People Fired

It’s fair to say that West has captured the world’s attention, but to what end, we can’t be sure. Is he truly embracing “freedom of thought” as he calls it or is this all a publicity stunt? Or maybe it is a little bit of both? It remains to be seen what kind of impact his recent social media posts will have on record and clothing sales, but fans of Ye know that controversy is kind of his thing.

West has built an incredible career from genius-level music and headline-generating stunts. Here is a look at some of the most eye-popping Kanye West moments.

Kanye West's Most Controversial Moments

Calls slavery 'a choice' on TMZ.

Calls slavery 'a choice' on TMZ.
Image credit: TMZ

During an appearance on TMZ Live, West spoke at length about an assortment of subjects, but it was his take on slavery in America that caused an uproar.

"When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sound like a choice,” he said. TMZ reporter Van Lathan took issue, telling West that there are "real-life consequences behind everything that you just said." Lathan continued, "While you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives."

Kanye West's Most Controversial Moments

Describes Trump as his 'energy dragon' brother.

Describes Trump as his 'energy dragon' brother.
Image credit: Timothy A. Clary | Getty Images

President Donald Trump has not had a lot of supporters in the hip-hop world, but Kanye took to Twitter on April 25, writing, "You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. 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."

Related: Trump Says Obama-Era Marijuana Policies Won't Change

Kanye West's Most Controversial Moments

Singles out disabled crowd members.

Singles out disabled crowd members.
Image credit: Don Arnold | Getty Images

While performing in Sydney, Australia, in support of his 2014 Yeezus tour, West stopped the show, explaining, “I can’t do this show until everybody stand up.” According to Time, he singled out two fans who stayed seated and were booed by the crowd. “This is the longest I’ve had to wait to do a song, it’s unbelievable,” West said. After some back and forth, West learned that the reason they weren’t standing was that they couldn’t -- one was wheelchair bound and one waived their prosthetic leg at him.

Kanye West's Most Controversial Moments

Can be a sore loser.

Can be a sore loser.
Image credit: Dave Hogan | Getty Images

At the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards, West stormed the stage after his “Touch the Sky” lost to Justice Vs Simian for Best Video. “It cost a million dollars,” he ranted. "Pamela Anderson was in it. I was jumping across canyons.” To be fair, he did have a point.

Related: How 10 Billionaires Faced Failure (Infographic)

Kanye West's Most Controversial Moments

Swiffers Taylor Swift to the side.

Swiffers Taylor Swift to the side.
Image credit: Jeff Kravitz | Getty Images

In probably one of his most widely-known flip-outs, West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Awards, saying, “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, Imma let you finish but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.” Again, he kinda did have a point.

Kanye West's Most Controversial Moments

Calls out George W. Bush on live TV.

Calls out George W. Bush on live TV.
Image credit: NBC

During a telethon for disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina, West went off script during a segment with Mike Myers, saying, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

Related: A Hurricane Hit My Business and Knocked Out the Power. Here's How I Responded. 

Kanye West's Most Controversial Moments

Backs conspiracy theories.

Backs conspiracy theories.
Image credit: Pierre Suu | Getty Images

While touring to promote awareness of global poverty, West claimed that AIDS is a “man-made disease” and was “placed in Africa just like crack was placed in the black community to break up the Black Panthers.”

Kanye West's Most Controversial Moments

Demands apology from Barack Obama.

Demands apology from Barack Obama.
Image credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images

During an epic interview with rapper Charlamagne Tha God, West said he still wants an apology from Barack Obama, who called West a "jackass" after the Taylor Swift incident in 2009. "Sometimes a conversation can help show respect for a situation," West explained.

West then went on to give Obama a script for his apology, "'I'm the leader of the free world, Ye, I'm sorry for calling you a jackass. I appreciate your honesty. I appreciate your Gemini, your Tupacness. I appreciate that someone is going to do it, but I'm president and I can't do it.'"

Well, Mr. President? 

Related: 10 Barack Obama Quotes on Hard Work and Success

Add to Queue
  • Kanye West's Most Controversial Moments
  • 1. Calls slavery 'a choice' on TMZ.
  • 2. Describes Trump as his 'energy dragon' brother.
  • 3. Singles out disabled crowd members.
  • 4. Can be a sore loser.
  • 5. Swiffers Taylor Swift to the side.
  • 6. Calls out George W. Bush on live TV.
  • 7. Backs conspiracy theories.
  • 8. Demands apology from Barack Obama.
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