Kanye West broke down in tears, made an outrageous claim about Harriet Tubman, had a heckler ejected and claimed his brain was too big for his skull on Sunday at the first campaign event for his bewildering presidential run.
“Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people,” he said at one point in a rambling speech that bounded from one topic to another with little seeming structure. At another moment, he broke down when sharing that he and wife Kim Kardashian West had considered an abortion, and then said his own father wanted to have him aborted. “There was almost no Kanye West… because he was too busy!,” West sobbed.
Apparently wearing a bulletproof vest, West sounded off on multiple other topics, ranging from social media to his Adidas deal, during the rambling speech at the Exquis Event Center in Charleston, South Carolina. The reaction of the crowd — “registered guests only” — ranges from sympathy to disgust at various points: After West’s comments about Tubman, who is credited with freeing hundreds of slaves via the “Underground Railroad,” one crowd member groans “Come on, man,” while a woman can be heard saying “Okay we’re leaving now.” He then segues immediately into saying that the National Basketball Association and Universal Music Group have no Black owners.
West demanded “absolute silence and absolute order” — and even asked audience members to point out anyone they heard talking — scolded the crowd for clapping at one point, and had another audience member ejected for an unclear reason.
Watch the entire thing on Facebook.
Announced earlier in the day and held in a small room before what appeared to be a couple of hundred people, all attendees were asked to sign a COVID-19 liability release form, social distance and wear a mask,
West announced on Twitter, seemingly in earnest, that he’d be running for president exactly two weeks ago on Fourth of July. Politico reports that West filed an official statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission last week using The Birthday Campaign (BDY) as his political party affiliation.
He also tweeted on Saturday evening asking his followers to sign a petition to get him on the South Carolina ballot. However, as ABC News reports, West missed South Carolina’s deadline to file as an independent candidate this week, and the state does not allow write-in candidates.
West was able to get on the ballot in Oklahoma this week by paying a $35,000 fee before the cut-off deadline in lieu of getting petition signatures. The deadlines to register as a write-in candidate have passed in several states, but many extend into August and September, leaving a small chance that West could muster enough petition signatures to get him on the ballots in those states. Several thousands of signatures are required for a write-in candidate in most states.
After several reports about the long-shot candidate dropping out circulated last week, many fans were surprised to see West commit to running. According to Politico, he has not registered in any major voting polls.