Chance the Rapper has apologized for a tweet, sent on Wednesday, that appeared to defend Kanye West's suddenly ear-splitting affection for Donald Trump and other right-wing ideologues. In a note posted to Twitter on Friday morning, the 25-year-old artist wrote that he would "never support anyone who has made a career out of hatred, racism, and discrimination" and promised to make amends with "immediate action and advocacy for those who need it the most."
Chance, born Chancellor Bennett, waded into the West-led Twitter muck on Wednesday afternoon. Seemingly responding to his fellow Chicagoan's bizarre pro-Trump missives, Bennett wrote, "Black people don’t have to be democrats." It was retweeted 74,000 times before Trump himself thanked Bennett for his support on Friday morning.
If West's vocal support for Trump seemed a little jarring—though far from shocking— Bennett's tweet seemed completely at odds with his previous record on social issues. His father, Ken Williams-Bennett, served as an aide to then-Senator Barack Obama, and Chance visited the White House with some frequency during Obama's second term as President. Chance has been an advocate for Chicago's public schools in recent years, donating $1 million and raising $2.2 million in grant money for the school system. He's discussed his ideas with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, and been critical of the highly controversial Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel. Bennett rarely misses an opportunity to profess his love for Chicago, a city that Trump has consistently maligned, once going so far as to suggest that it is less safe than war-torn Afghanistan.
"Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about my city and my loved ones," Bennett writes in the statement. "I am about my city and my loved ones. Kanye West is not just a mentor or a big homie to me. He's my family. No matter how much I may disagree with him, it's hard for me to watch people talk about someone I love—even if they were justified in doing so.
"I didn't speak up because I agree with what Kanye said or cause I fuck with trump," he continues. "I did it because I wanted to help my friend and cause I felt like I was being used to attack him. Unfortunately, my attempt to support Kanye is being used to discredit my brothers and sisters in the movement and I can't sit by and let that happen either."
Bennett goes on to insist that his criticism of the Democratic Party goes beyond a simple defense of West: "My statement about black folk not having to be democrats (though true) was a deflection from the real conversation and stemmed from a personal issue with the fact that Chicago has had generations of democratic officials with no investment or regard for black schools, neighborhood[s] or black lives. But again, said that shit at the wrongest time."
"We have to talk honestly about what is happening and has been happening in this country and we have to challenge those who are responsible, as well as those who are giving them a pass," he concludes. "If that happens to include someone I love, someone who is my brother-in-Christ and someone who I believe does really want to do what is right, it's not my job to defend or protect him. It's my job to puck up the phone and talk to him about it."
John Legend, the multi-million-selling singer-songwriter, contacted West via text on Thursday to express his concerns. "I hope you'll reconsider aligning yourself with Trump," he wrote. "You're way too powerful and influential to endorse who he is and what he stands for. As you know, what you say really means something to your fans."
West responded: "You bringing up my fans or my legacy is a tactic based on fear used to manipulate my free thought." He then screenshotted the interaction and posted it to Twitter.
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