Kanye West said Tuesday he planned to step away from politics after a whirlwind month that saw him meet with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, strut around the stages of “Saturday Night Live” wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and jump on top of a table at an Apple Store to deliver his own keynote address.
West, 41, took to Twitter to address some of the criticism heaped on top of him, noting that he had been “used to spread messages I don’t believe in” and that he planned to focus on “being creative.”
He wrote this to his 28 million followers
The calm and formal language in West’s series of tweets immediately resulted in theories — conspiracy or otherwise — that they had been written by ghost-tweeters, not West himself. “It’s not even him tweeting this. He is at a JBA basketball game in Houthalen, Belgium,” wrote one Belgian. West was known to have traveled to Belgium to attend JBA basketball games over the weekend.
Among the tweets coming from West’s account was a sort of fresh mission statement, with positions that seemed to suggest affinity for both sides of the political divide: “I support creating jobs and opportunities for people who need them the most, I support prison reform, I support common-sense gun laws that will make our world safer… I support those who risk their lives to serve and protect us and I support holding people who misuse their power accountable. I believe in love and compassion for people seeking asylum and parents who are fighting to protect their children from violence and war… I would like to thank my family, loved ones, and community for supporting my ACTUAL beliefs and my vision for a better world.”
Sample reactions ranged from “Does that mean you admit that Donald Trump played you like a fiddle?” to “Looks like the Democrats enslaved you again. Amazing how your voice of being a free thinker resonated with conservative African Americans and they finally felt free, and you shame Blexit? Shame on you for being a hypocrite.”
“Thanks for the laughs @kanyewest,” tweeted one bemused figure on the right, Michael Flynn Jr.
West’s only politically specific remarks in his afternoon tweetstorm were against African-American conservative Candace Owen, figurehead of the “Blexit” campaign to urge black Americans to leave the Democratic party. Owen had earlier said she had asked West to help out with the Blexit logo. Monday, she tweeted that West has “totally different political beliefs than mine” and had only pointed her toward a designer, but the damage had already been done among wavering West fans who considered his alleged support of Brexit a step too far.
It’s unclear how long this latest anti-political incarnation will last — West regularly pinballs back and forth over his use of social media amid controversy, shutting down his accounts and stepping out of the spotlight only to reemerge once again. Just this month he deactivated his Twitter and Instagram handles after tweeting that the constitutional amendment ending slavery should be abolished.