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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Kanye West says his brain is "too big," makes bizarre claim about Harriet Tubman at campaign rally

Kanye West
Kanye West
Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images for Fast Company

Despite keywords pointing to the contrary, this is not a story about a Donald Trump rally. On Sunday, Kanye West held his first campaign event since announcing his 2020 presidential bid earlier this month. Over the course of his hour-long, rambling speech, West—wearing a bullet-proof vest—discussed his thoughts on abortion, his IQ, and an dubious take on the legacy of Harriet Tubman: “Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves,” he said at the event, which took place at the Exquis Event Center in Charleston, South Carolina, and is available to watch on Facebook in its entirety. “She just had them work for other white people.”

West’s speech meandered from discussing his business deals (and threatening to end his relationship with Adidas and Gap unless the companies put him on their boards) to advocating for legalizing marijuana to criticizing the lack of black owners in the NBA. When boasting about his IQ of 132, West described going to the hospital “because my brain was too big for my skull.”

West broke down in tears while recounting how he changed his mind after initially thinking his wife, Kim Kardashian West, should get an abortion while she was pregnant with their first child, daughter North, who is now 7. “I’m in the apartment...and I have my laptop up and I have all of my creative ideas, I’ve got my shoes, I’ve got my next song cover…and the screen went black and white,” he recalled. “And God said, ‘If you fuck with my vision, I’m gonna fuck with yours.’ And I called my wife and she said, ‘We’re gonna have this baby.’” Though he wants to get rid of the Plan B pill, West maintained that he is not against abortion. Instead, he proposed giving every pregnant woman $1 million to help them financially through their pregnancy.


West’s speech was met with mixed reactions from the crowd, some of them booing and choosing to leave. In response, West requested “absolute silence and absolute order,” and asked the audience to call out anyone breaking his rules. At one point, he even chastised someone for clapping and kicked out another for a reason that is unclear in the video.

The Hollywood Reporter says “all attendees were asked to sign a COVID-19 liability release form, social distance and wear a mask.” It was widely reported last week that West was not actually moving forward with his candidacy, but he recently got on the ballot in Oklahoma by paying a $35,000 fee and this weekend he asked his Twitter followers to sign a petition to get him on the South Carolina ballot. Politico reports that West filed with the Federal Election Commission last week, listing The Birthday Campaign (BDY) as his political party affiliation. It’s also probably worth noting that West may be releasing a new album on Friday.

A.V. Club Editor in Chief...but really just a She-Ra, Schitt’s Creek, Grey’s Anatomy, Survivor, Big Brother, Top Chef, The Good Place superfan.

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