Kanye West has confirmed he intends to vote in the upcoming US presidential election – and indicated he will be supporting Donald Trump.
The musician and fashion designer is one of the few high-profile celebrities to publicly back Mr Trump and has been criticised for wearing a Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat.
In a wide-ranging interview with GQ magazine, West said the influence of his parents – who were both involved in the civil rights movement – means his race will not influence which box he will tick on the ballot paper.
“They didn’t fight for me to be told by white people which white person I can vote on,” he said, a reference to Mr Trump and Joe Biden, who has all but secured the Democratic Party nomination.
West, 42, said he is “definitely” voting, adding “and we know who I’m voting on”. He mocked Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign slogan of “I’m with her” and said the success of his most recent album was proof his music career will survive the fallout from any controversy surrounding his support for Mr Trump.
He said: “And I’m not going to be told by the people around me and the people that have their agenda that my career is going to be over.
“Because guess what: I’m still here! Jesus Is King was No 1! I was told my career would end if I wasn’t with her. What kind of campaign is that, anyway?
“That’s like if Obama’s campaign was ‘I’m with black.’ What’s the point of being a celebrity if you can’t have an opinion? Everybody make their own opinion!”
West also said buying property was “better now” than when Barack Obama was in the White House.
He said: “I buy real estate. It’s better now than when Obama was in office. They don’t teach you in school about buying property. They teach you how to become somebody’s property.”
Asked about his intentions when wearing the MAGA hat, West said: “I didn’t intend for anything except to speak my mind and express how I felt. I have no intention other than to be free, and I don’t intend to be free – I just simply am.”
West is no stranger to making controversial comments on race and attracted strong criticism in 2018 when saying slavery was a “choice”.
He returned to the theme of slavery in the GQ interview while discussing his infamous 2005 claim that President George Bush “doesn’t care about black people”.
West said it was a “victim statement”. He added: “This white person didn’t do something for us. That is stemmed in victim mentality. Every day I have to look in the mirror like I’m Robert De Niro and tell myself, ‘You are not a slave.’ As outspoken as I am, and the position that I am in, I need to tell myself.”
West, who is married to reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, also said he was a “functioning alcoholic” and used to drink vodka in the morning.
He said: “One day I was in my office working on the couture collection, and there was some Grey Goose in the fridge and I was just going to get a daytime drink, and I looked and thought, ‘Devil, you’re not going to beat me today.’
“That one statement is like a tattoo. I haven’t had a drink since I realised I needed to take it day by day, but I never owned up, or was even told, ‘Hey, you’re a functioning alcoholic.’
“People have called me a crazy person, people have called me everything – but not a functioning alcoholic. And I would be drinking orange juice and Grey Goose in the morning.”