Kanye West Delivers Uncomfortable Pro-Trump Rant on 'SNL' as Chris Rock Tapes It
By Elysa Gardner
Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
How does one of the planet’s most controversial superstars drive up even more attention for his latest high-profile appearance? If you’re Ye -- that would be, the artist known until this weekend as Kanye West -- you pop up two days before your performance on the Saturday Night Live season premiere wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap and a Colin Kaepernick sweatshirt.
Then, you announce on Twitter, about twelve hours before the gig, that you’re changing your stage name to something more, well, monosyllabic. (A longtime nickname, “Ye” is also the title of an album the rapper dropped last spring.)
But those shenanigans were just prelude to the rambling speech that West -- as he was still introduced on the show, both by the announcer and host Adam Driver -- delivered to the studio audience post-broadcast, following sets that were relatively low on bombast (even if the rapper pranced around in a facsimile of a Perrier bottle during one of them).
What TV viewers didn’t get to see -- at least until clips started circulating on social media, courtesy of Chris Rock and others -- was West defending, at some length, his support for President Trump. Having once again donned his MAGA cap for the show’s close, he referred to a “Democratic plan” to “take the fathers out of the homes and promote welfare.”
Pacing the stage as some jeered -- though there were also sprinklings of applause -- West continued, “So many times I’ve talked to a white person about this, and he’d say, ‘How could you love Trump? He’s racist.’ Well, if I was concerned about racism I would have moved out of America a long time ago.’”
As an organ played behind West, evoking a sort of improvised sermon, he continued, “You got a situation where we need to have a dialogue and not a diatribe...It’s easy to make it seem like it’s so, so, so one-sided.” West later advised, “Follow your heart and stop following your mind. That’s how we’re controlled...You want the world to move forward, try love.”
Acknowledging the crowd’s relative patience, West thanked everyone for “giving me this platform. I know some of y’all don’t agree.” But clearly, whatever he calls himself, West isn’t going to stop stirring the pot any time soon.