During a Wednesday appearance on Good Morning Britain, the Black Eyed Peas member talked about 'Ye’s controversial TMZ Live interview, in which the Chicago rapper suggested slavery was a “choice.” Will didn’t hesitate to condemn the rapper.
“That broke my heart, because I thought about my grandma, who was born in 1920, and her connection with her mom who raised her, who was born in the late 1800s, and my grandmother’s grandma, who was a slave,” he said. “And when you’re a slave, you’re owned. You don’t choose if you’re owned. When you’re a slave you’re deprived of education. That’s not choice, that’s by force.“
Will went on to say that he respected the idea of “free thought,” a concept that has been greatly championed by 'Ye in recent weeks; however, The Voice judge insisted that “unresearched” thoughts could potentially harm under-served black communities.
“That statement was one of the most ignorant statements that anybody that came from the hood could ever say about their ancestors, that slavery is a choice. What are you talking about?” Will said, before suggesting 'Ye’s statements could be motivated by money. “To me, that’s a different person that’s saying that, and I hope it’s not to raise awareness so you could sell some records and some shoes, because that would be the worst thing to do, to stir up this very touchy race situation and you be the benefactor from it. So, I encourage you, if you really believe this, give your shoes away for free, give your album away for free […] I will not throw my ancestors under the bus to profit.”
Will continued the conversation on social media, posting a series of tweets that refuted the idea that slavery was a choice.
During Tuesday's TMZ Live broadcast, 'Ye stated: “When you hear about slavery for 400 years ... for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You was there for 400 years and it's all of y'all? It's like we're mentally imprisoned.”
After the backlash ensued, Ye attempted to clarify his statements via Twitter, claiming he knew slaves didn't have 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,” he wrote in now-deleted tweets. “[…] The reason why I brought up the 400 years point is because we can't be mentally imprisoned for another 400 years. We need free thought now. Even the statement was an example of free thought It was just an idea.”