Chance the Rapper apologized Friday for defending his mentor Kanye West’s tweets supporting President Trump earlier in the week. After West shared photos of his Make America Great Again hat and detailed his love for Trump — or, as he put it, “my brother” — Chance tweeted, “Black people don’t have to be democrats.” The backlash was immediate.
Two days later, Chance expressed his regret as celebrities do: by posting screenshots of a lengthy statement written in the iPhone Notes app. He wrote that he considers West to be family and tried to protect him from those critical of the pro-Trump tweets. But West’s words are “being used to discredit my brothers and sisters in the movement,” Chance wrote, “and I can’t sit by and let that happen either.”
“I’d never support anyone who has made a career out of hatred, racism and discrimination,” he continued. “I’d never support someone who’d talk about Chicago as if it’s hell on earth and then take steps to make life harder here for the most disenfranchised among us.” Trump has been known to frequently invoke Chicago when discussing crime.
Though he stands by his initial tweet’s assertion, Chance admitted that the timing was less than ideal. It 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 or black lives,” he wrote. He had doubled down on his criticism of Democrats after the initial tweet on Wednesday, claiming that the next president would be an independent.
Both Chance and Kanye identify strongly with their Chicago roots and have spoken a great deal about their love for the city. Chance donated $1 million to the city’s public schools during a funding crisis last year and in December appeared in a public service announcement for My Brother’s Keeper, former president Barack Obama’s initiative to encourage mentorship and opportunities for youths in minority communities. West, co-founder of the Chicago-based arts nonprofit Donda’s House, tweeted on Wednesday that he and Chance would build homes together in the city and then criticized Obama, who formerly lived on the city’s South Side: “Obama was in office for eight years and nothing in Chicago changed.”
Trump tweeted Friday that West’s supportive statements are “a great service to the Black Community” and thanked Chance and Darrell Scott, a Cleveland pastor who has urged the black community to support the president. Chance responded with a quote-tweet: “Nah that aint it yo.”
The rapper has been vocal in his criticism of Trump, tweeting in October that his presidency “is not the root of division or racism in this country, it’s just one of the many symptoms.”
Chance ended his note Friday by stating that we must speak honestly about troubling current events and “challenge those who are responsible, as well as those who are giving them a pass.”
“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,” he wrote. “It’s my job to pick up the phone and talk to him about it.”
Correction: A previous version of this story attributed a Chance the Rapper fan account’s tweet to the rapper.