Earlier this week, Kanye West took to the TMZ offices to say that he believes slavery was a choice. During this, the Chicago rapper was confronted by TMZ senior producer Van Lathan, who called him out on his controversial comments.
Now, Lathan has spoken out on the incident.
“It’s crippling to see what’s happened,” he said to TIME, adding that he felt he needed to remind West of his history and cultural heritage in light of his remarks.
“I am my ancestors, I am their survival, I am their will,” Lathan said. “I am the descendant of slaves who refused to die and we all are if you’re black and in America. Any speech that is used to weaken them and make them culpable for the wretched and putrid circumstances, I don’t feel like I could really tolerate that.”
The argument between West and Lathan occurred three days ago.
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” the rapper said. “Like, you was there for 400 years and it was all of y’all?”
“Kanye, you’re entitled to your opinion, you’re entitled to believe whatever you want. But there are real-life consequences behind everything you just said,” Lathan responded. “…Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled, and I’m unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something that, to me, is not real.”