“When you hear about slavery for 400 years, for 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” West said in the TMZ newsroom. “You was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all?”
Understandably, West’s assertion that slavery was “a choice” drew intense, immediate criticism from within the TMZ newsroom itself.
“While you are making music and being an artist and living a life that you’ve earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives,” TMZ staffer Van Lathan argued. “We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said for our people was a choice. Frankly, I’m disappointed. I’m appalled. And brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something, to me, that’s not real.”
Once West’s latest comments began making the rounds, Black Twitter started imagining how things would’ve been different if slavery actually was a choice. Thus, the hashtag #IfSlaveryWasAChoice was born.