Kanye West, who earlier this month hugged Donald Trump in the Oval Office, has said he has been “used to spread messages I don’t believe in”. As a result, the rapper said he would now be “distancing” himself from politics.
The statement is likely to come as a blow to the US president, who has plugged West as a prominent black supporter. Trump’s approval rating among African Americans barely touches double figures.
West’s primary falling out appears to be not with Trump but Candace Owens, a rising star of the right who was recently lavished with praise by the president at a gathering of young black conservatives at the White House.
On 30 October, West said he supports prison reform, common sense gun laws and compassion for people seeking asylum. He then denied designing a logo for a branding exercise known as “Blexit”, which urges African Americans to leave the Democratic party. The concept, originated by Owens, claimed that West had designed the group’s merchandise.
“I introduced Candace to the person who made the logo and they didn’t want their name on it so she used mine,” West wrote. “I never wanted any association with Blexit. I have nothing to do with it.”
Evidently stung by the experience, he then followed up: “My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative !!!”
According to media reports, Owens had claimed that West designed the logo and colours of Blexit. On 29 October, as controversy grew, she released a statement playing down his role, insisting: “BLEXIT is a project that is mine entirely. I am blessed that Ye [West] introduced me to a designer who despite having totally different beliefs than me, helped me craft some beautiful letters that I used on the BLEXIT caps.”
She added: “#BLEXIT is about the beautiful stories of so many black people who have awakened themselves to the possibilities of our future, as Americans. The press is trying to use Kanye’s name to create drama and further divisiveness which is WRONG.”