“Kanye West said something controversial”: that’s becoming a bit of a redundant sentence.
The rapper has never been one afraid to speak his mind, but the last few years have seen his prominent outbursts increase in number.
At Paris Fashion Week this month, it continued. Kanye decided to wear a t-shirt with the slogan “White Lives Matter,” and all hell broke loose.
Controversial conservative influencer Candace Owens was invited to his Yeezy SZN 9 fashion show, while he told attendees, “You can’t manage me. This is an unmanageable situation.”
And in many ways, he’s right. Kanye is a staggering artist, a savvy businessman, a generational talent, but he’s also been getting with outrageous statements for nigh on two decades now; if he is the “unmanageable situation”, there doesn’t seem to be a solution.
While we inevitably await Kanye dominating news headlines in decades to come, you can take a look below at his already lengthy history of controversial statements and moments.
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— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) October 3, 2022
Hurricane Kanye (2005)
During a live telethon to raise much-needed money for Hurricane Katrina relief, Kanye had other things on his mind.
“George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” he blasted, to the bemusement of Mike Myers beside him. The rapper, it seems, was frustrated at how mismanaged the relief efforts were in New Orleans, with predominantly poor neighbourhoods destroyed.
“Pamela Anderson was in it” (2006)
After Kanye’s video for ‘Touch the Sky’ lost to Justice and Simian’s clip for ‘We Are Your Friends’ at the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards, the rapper was having none of it.
Angrily taking the microphone from the winning pair, he unloaded a speech filled with expletives, insisting his video should have won instead because it “cost a million dollars, Pamela Anderson was in it. … I was jumping across canyons. … If I don’t win, the awards show loses credibility.”
Taylor Swift (2009)
A simply unforgettable controversy. During the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye once more stormed the stage, this time to question Swift winning the award for Best Female Video.
“Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ll let you finish, but Beyoncé has one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!” he shouted. At the time, Swift was just 17-years-old.
Kim Kardashian vs Michelle Obama (2013)
While pitching Kim K to be on the cover of Vogue, he strangely challenged the then-First Lady to pose for a sexy swimsuit picture.
“No one is looking at what [the president] is wearing. Michelle Obama cannot Instagram a [sexy swimsuit] pic like what my girl Instagrammed the other day,” he said about Obama, who had previously covered Vogue in more appropriate attire.
"Michelle Obama cannot Instagram a [sexy swimsuit] pic like what my girl Instagrammed the other day"- Kanye West http://t.co/oTIOmrjjDk
— Celeste Headlee (@CelesteHeadlee) October 29, 2013
“Racism is outdated” (2015)
In an interview with Clique TV, Kanye pondered the meaning of racism. “Racism is a dated concept,” he unexpectedly claimed. “It’s like a silly concept that people try to touch on to either… to separate, to alienate, to pinpoint anything. It’s stupid.”
He continued: “It’s like a bouncing ball in a room with two cats, or something, when you don’t feel like playing with a cat. Let them literally fight over the bouncing ball. And the bouncing ball has nothing, no purpose, anything other than that: it bounces. That’s racism. It’s not an actual thing that even means anything.”
I Love Trump (2016)
Kanye first revealed his appreciation for Donald Trump during a San Jose show six years ago. “If I would have voted, I would have voted on Trump,” he claimed. “That don’t mean that I don’t think that black lives matter. That don’t mean I don’t believe in women’s rights.
“I wanted to say that before the election, but they told me, ‘whatever you do, don’t say that out loud.’ Not only did I not vote, but there were a lot of things I actually liked about Trump’s campaign. His approach was f—ing genius—because it worked.” Just a few months later, he would visit the President at Trump Tower.
Taylor Swift round 2 (2016)
The pair’s feud reignited in 2016 after the rapper released his song ‘Famous’, which contained the inflammatory lyric, “I made that b***h famous”.
Swift claimed that Kanye had never made her aware of the infamous lyric, while he claimed the opposite; four years later, leaked audio revealed that Swift hadn’t been aware of the lyric. Messy.
Bill Cosby support (2016)
Not many people, it’s fair to say, supported Bill Cosby in 2016. Kanye, however, declared “Bill Cosby Innocent” in a tweet (Cosby was not, in fact, innocent).
A lot of public figures rushed to decry Kanye’s support, including Sarah Silverman and Billy Eichner. “Are we sure Kanye isn’t just a character from Zoolander?” the latter asked.
Are we sure Kanye isn't just a character from Zoolander?
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) February 10, 2016
Twitter return (2018)
After a long hiatus, Kanye returned to Twitter in ‘style’ four years ago. “You don’t have to agree with trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I dont agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought,” he wrote about Trump.
After his then-wife intervened privately, he tweeted, “my wife just called me and she wanted me to make this clear to everyone. I don’t agree with everything Trump does. I don’t agree 100% with anyone but myself.” Several pictures of his Make America Great Again, signed by Trump, still followed.
You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don't agree with everything anyone does. That's what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.
— ye (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
Slavery is “a choice” (2018)
Kim comments (post-breakup)
Kanye’s public statements about his former wife could make up an entire list by themselves; the rapper has notoriously not taken his divorce well.
During a speech on Skid Row, he revealed that he bought a house near to Kardashian, also citing the possibility that God would soon reunite the estranged couple.
Despite being photographed with the likes of Julia Fox, Kanye has spent much of 2022 publicly pursuing Kardashian, begging her to rekindle their relationship.
They also shared an infamous spat over what school their kids go to, with Kanye sharing private messages between the pair. “No. We need to talk in person. You don’t have say so of where the kids go to school. “Why you get say say. Cause you half white?” the rapper responded to one of the messages from Kardashian that simply read “please stop.”
Poor Pete Davidson (2022)
Again, the comments Kanye’s made about the Saturday Night Live comedian could make up a full list on their own.
One of the worst statements came in Kanye’s diss track ‘Eazy’: “God saved me from that crash just so I can beat Pete Davidson’s ass”. So far, he’s saved his anger for online harassment.
Queen Elizabeth II comparison (2022)
Deciding to make the late monarch’s death about himself, Kanye compared Queen Elizabeth II to his former wife.
“London I know how you feel. I lost my queen too,” he wrote in an Instagram Story, alluding to his divorce with Kardashian. The word ‘shameless’ comes to mind.
— sofía (@nanastudioz) September 26, 2022