Kanye West explains his presidential bid as only Kanye can
Billionaire rap mogul Kanye West is apparently serious about running for president this year, laying out his executive plans — and lack thereof — in a wide-ranging interview with Forbes published Wednesday.
After announcing his plans on July 4, he now has less than a month to formalize his bid but has resolved to get on the ballot. He won’t run as a Democrat or a Republican but instead under the “Birthday Party” banner “because when we win, it’s everybody’s birthday.”
The rapper, 43, who has publicly (and controversially) supported President Donald Trump, said he has lost confidence in 45 and is “taking the red hat off,” alluding to the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” caps.
“It looks like one big mess to me. I don’t like that I caught wind that he hid in the bunker,” West said, referring to Trump’s retreat to the White House bunker in late May during the George Floyd protests.
The Grammy Award winner explained his puzzling, erstwhile endorsement of the president this way: “One of the main reasons I wore the red hat as a protest to the segregation of votes in the Black community. Also, other than the fact that I like Trump hotels and the saxophones in the lobby.”
Those luxuries aside, West said he won’t be throwing his support behind former Vice President Joe Biden either because he’s “not special.”
“A lot of times just like political parties they feel all Blacks have to be Democrat. This man, Joe Biden, said if you don’t vote for me, then you are not Black. Well, act like we didn’t hear that? We act like we didn’t hear that man say that? That man said that. It’s a rap. We gonna walk, all the people. Jay-Z said it best,” West said.
“For the other candidates, I just gracefully suggest y’all bow out — Trump and Biden, gracefully bow out. It’s God’s country, we are doing everything in service to God, nobody but God no more. I am in service of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, and I put everything I get on the line to serve God.”
West, who explored his religious awakening on a pair of albums last year, admitted that he’s never voted and denied that his White House bid is a publicity stunt to promote a forthcoming album. He also seemed fine with his presumptive run hurting Biden’s chances of getting elected.
“That is a form of racism and white supremacy and white control to say that all Black people need to be Democrat and to assume that me running is me splitting the vote,” West said.
“All of that information is being charged up on social media platforms by Democrats. And Democrats used to tell me, the same Democrats have threatened me. … The reason why this is the first day I registered to vote is because I was scared. I was told that if I voted on Trump, my music career would be over. I was threatened into being in one party. I was threatened as a celebrity into being in one party. I was threatened as a Black man into the Democratic party. And that’s what the Democrats are doing, emotionally, to my people. Threatening them to the point where this white man can tell a Black man if you don’t vote for me, you’re not Black.”
West added that his running mate would be Wyoming preacher Michelle Tidball and his campaign slogan would be “YES.” On the Fourth of July, he got two key Twitter endorsements upon announcing his run: his wife, Kim Kardashian West, and Tesla founder Elon Musk. West has said he’ll also consult experts and Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner on election matters.
“Let’s see if the appointing is at 2020 or if it’s 2024 — because God appoints the president. If I win in 2020 then it was God’s appointment. If I win in 2024 then that was God’s appointment,” West said.
Kanye West released ‘Wash Us in the Blood,’ his first new music since 2019’s ‘Jesus Is King’ album, accompanied by a video from L.A. artist Arthur Jafa.
Elsewhere in the interview, West said he plans to bring a “design” team to the presidency to form policies. He loves China. He hasn’t done enough research on taxes yet. He wants to bring prayer back to schools. He is pro-life and against the death penalty. And he wants to end police brutality.
Oh, and he envisions a White House modeled after the comic book-based country of Wakanda from Marvel’s blockbuster “Black Panther” film.
“A lot of Africans do not like the movie [‘Black Panther’] and representation of themselves in … Wakanda. But I’m gonna use the framework of Wakanda right now because it’s the best explanation of what our design group is going to feel like in the White House,” he said. “That is a positive idea: You got Kanye West, one of the most powerful humans — I’m not saying the most because you got a lot of alien level superpowers and it’s only collectively that we can set it free.”
So, WaKanye Forever?
Your essential guide to the arts in L.A.
Get Carolina A. Miranda's weekly newsletter for what's happening, plus openings, critics' picks and more.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.