Called out. Roots star LeVar Burton is the latest celebrity to condemn Kanye West for comments he made about slavery being a “choice.”
The 61-year-old actor, best known for his role as Kunta Kinte in the 1977 miniseries, slammed West’s remarks in an interview with KTLA Morning News on Wednesday, May 2.
“Where do you start with Kanye? I genuinely believe that this young man has brain chemistry issues and that he is in a hypomanic phase,” Burton explained. “I’m not a psychiatrist, I’m not a psychologist, but I’ve seen this behavior and I know it fairly intimately well.”
The Star Trek: The Next Generation alum added: “I just think somebody in Kanye’s camp, if there is somebody in Kanye’s camp, needs to put their arms around him and have him sit the hell down for five minutes until his brain chemistry levels out because he’s not helping himself right now.”
West, 40, sparked widespread controversy on Tuesday, May 1, after speaking about slavery in an interview with TMZ Live.
“You hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” the Grammy winner said. “Like, that was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all? It’s like we’re mentally in prison. I like the word ‘prison’ because slavery is direct to the idea of blacks. Like Holocaust is Jews, slavery is blacks.”
After getting backlash on social media, the Yeezy founder clarified his comments via Twitter later on Tuesday. “To make myself clear. Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will,” he wrote. “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.”
Musicians including Will.i.am and Chris Brown have since criticized West for his controversial statements.
The Adidas designer, who rejoined Twitter in April after a year-long hiatus, has used the platform to speak candidly about his political views, career, mental health and philosophical ideas.
A source exclusively reveals in the new issue of Us Weekly that West “felt like it was time for him to be so public again” after being “uncharacteristically quiet for so long.”
For more on West’s Twitter rants and emersion back into the spotlight, pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.