Kanye West had a wide-ranging conversation with David Letterman on his Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. West’s comment on #MeToo came towards the end of the interview, as he and Letterman veered into more serious topics. He spoke specifically about the fear men in power felt as women came forward with credible accusations of sexual assault and harassment against them, prompting Letterman to argue that that fear was “not equal by any equation to the fear women felt being on the other side of that.”
West replied, “I’m definitely supportive of the women. What I’m saying is we’re not allowed to have any conversation. When you go to court, both sides can talk. This is a court of public opinion where when someone bombs first, the war is supposedly over.”
West followed that theme into a discussion of President Donald Trump and his supporters, claiming he works with various people who voted for Trump but are scared to tell anyone. Letterman then tried to counter the notion that that fear pales in comparison to the administration’s explicit and tacit support of harmful policies, in this case, voter suppression.
“Have you ever been beat up in your high school for wearing the wrong hat?” West replied. “The idea is the bullying. Well, definitely liberals bully people who are Trump supporters. It’s not just calm. You can’t just go and wear the hat. It’s like, ‘Fuck you! Fuck you!’ It’s like bro, I have. In America, we have rights and we have rights to open the conversation.”
Elsewhere in the interview, West spoke about his recent mental health history after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder two years ago. He described the sensation he can feel when he’s off his medication and “ramping up” — “You start acting ‘erratic,’ as TMZ would put it,” West deadpanned — while he also focused on the often frightening experiences he’s had at hospitals when he’s been handcuffed, drugged and separated from his family.
“That’s something that I’m so happy I experienced myself so I can start by changing that moment,” West said. “When you are in that state, you have to have someone you trust. It is cruel and primitive to do that.”
West also spoke about the way mental health issues are often and dismissed, and how the perception around them needs to change in order for people to get better treatment. “This is a sprained brain, like having a sprained ankle” West said. “And if someone has a sprained ankle, you’re not gonna push on him more. With us, once our brain gets to a point of spraining, people do everything to make it worse.”
West and Letterman touched on a wide array of other topics during the interview, including West’s relationship with his mother and father, his beef with Drake and his Sunday Service concerts. West even offered Letterman a tour of his home and outfitted him in a variety of Yeezy clothes, including a pair of “dad shoes” that prompted an unexpected discussion about Andy Kaufman, irony and performance.
“He gave me courage,” West said of Kaufman’s influence. “How do you deal with the media? Here’s an example — I’d far rather be an Andy Kaufman than the majority of the way the media push them around. I’m in front of the joke. The joke is on everyone else.”
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