Kanye West has officially launched his White House 2020 campaign, with an unorthodox rally in Charleston, South Carolina.
The 43-year-old rapper is running as a candidate for his self-styled “Birthday Party”.
At the event, Kanye West seemed to make policy decisions off-the-cuff and made several rants, including on abortion and on abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
Fans have questioned whether his last-minute bid for the White House is actually a promotional stunt.
The Charleston rally did little to clarify whether Kanye West’s run is genuine. But a now-deleted tweet sent from Kanye West’s account on July 18, appearing to show the song list for a new album, added to the speculation.
The event, held at a wedding and conference hall in the city, was said to be open to registered guests only – but Kanye West’s campaign website had no function for people to register or RSVP.
Kanye West appeared with “2020” shaved into the back of his head and wearing a protective security vest, and addressed the gathered crowd without a microphone.
There were no audience microphones either, leading the rapper to repeatedly tell the crowd to be silent so he could hear the questions being asked.
At one point Kanye West began crying when talking about abortion, saying that his parents almost aborted him: “There would have been no Kanye West, because my dad was too busy.”
He added: “I almost killed my daughter… even if my wife [Kim Kardashian West] were to divorce me after this speech, she brought North into the world, even when I didn’t want to.”
However, the rapper then added that he believes abortion should remain legal, but there should be financial support for struggling new mothers – suggesting that “everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars”.
“The only thing that can free us is by obeying the rules that were given to us for a promised land,” Kanye West said.
“Abortion should be legal because guess what? The law is not by God anyway, so what is legality?”
At another moment, Kanye West gave an impromptu monologue about 19th century abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
He said: “Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people.”
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery, but managed to escape a Maryland plantation in 1849, at the age of 27. She then returned to the South to rescue other slaves on the network of routes and safe houses known as “underground railroad”, risking her own life to lead people to freedom.
Kanye West also became tearful when talking about his late mother, who died in 2007 from complications during cosmetic surgery.
The speech has been met with anger by some – mostly sparked by the rapper’s comments about Harriet Tubman – but also with concern over Kanye West’s welfare.
Kanye West, who announced his candidacy on 4th of July, has already missed the deadline to qualify for the ballot in several states. He needs to collect enough signatures to appear on the ballot in a number of others.
Last week, he qualified to appear on Oklahoma’s presidential ballot, the first state where he met the requirements before the deadline.
In order to appear on South Carolina’s ballot, Kanye West needs to collect 10,000 signatures by noon local time on July 20.
Kim Kardashian’s claims that there is nothing between her and Kanye West were blown out of the water today when Amber, the rapper’s ex-girlfriend, said his affair with the reality TV star led to their split.
Amber, 28, also claimed that Kim Kardashian was seeing NFL star Reggie Bush at the same time as she was seeing Kanye West – who was in a serious relationship with Amber at the time.
In an interview with Star magazine, Amber said Kim Kardashian, 31, was one of the main reasons she and Kanye West, 34, broke up.
Amber said: “She’s a homewrecker! They were both cheating. They were both cheating on me and Reggie with each other.”
Amber also said that Kim Kardashian instigated the affair by sending sexy pictures of herself to him as well as calling and texting him.
“She was sending pictures, and I was like, <<Kim, just stop. Don’t be that person>.”
Amber said Kim Kardashian was one of the main reasons she and Kanye West 34 broke up
Amber said she also emailed Kim Kardashian asking her for an explanation but was disappointed not to get a reply.
Amber said: “I thought at least she’d be woman enough to respond to me. She never responded.
“It’s very important that us women stick together and we don’t f**k each other over like that.”
Amber does thank Kim Kardashian for helping her find true love in the arms of rapper Wiz Khalifa, 24.
Amber explained: “I want to thank her. Because if she was never a homewrecker, then I never would have met Wiz, and I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now.”
Amber’s claim comes a few weeks after Kim Kardashian and Kayne West were spotted together at a party in New York and Kayne was “all over” her – just a month after she filed from divorce from husband Kris Humphries.
In November, she hinted that the pair may have at one time been more than friends when asked on the Wendy Williams Show if Kim and Kanye.
“I mean, Come on, like, you know,” she laughed. “Come on! We’ll keep it cute.”
Last year, Kanye West made an appearance alongside a flirty Kim Kardashian on the first season of reality show Kourtney & Kim Take New York
A source told The New York Daily News: “Kanye was eating Kim up like she was a piece of cake. He was all over her – caressing her head, touching her waist.
“I think he was dying to kiss her, but there were too many people in the room.”
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who are long time friends, were attending billionaire Ron Burkle’s party for Kanye and rapper Jay-Z who performed tracks from their hit album at LA’s Staples Centre.
Last year, Kanye West made an appearance alongside a flirty Kim Kardashian on the first season of reality show Kourtney & Kim Take New York.
And earlier this year, they filmed a Star Wars inspired skit together for U.S. network Comedy Central.
However, a source told People last year that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are “just friends”.
“There is nothing going on romantically,” the insider said.
“Kanye and Kim are just friends and have been forever.”