Two years after his embarrassing defense of a then MAGA-repping Kanye West—followed by a lengthy Notes App apology—Chance the Rapper has decided to die on yet another hill defending his rap mentor’s uninformed, stunt-based politics.
On Monday morning, the Chicago rapper and activist took to Twitter to ask his 8 million followers whether they supported the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden over West, who tweeted that he was running for president on the 4th of July and elaborated on his bizarre platform in a recent Forbes interview.
“Are u more pro biden or anti ye and why?” Chance tweeted. “I get that you’ll want to reply that you’re just tryna ‘get trump out’ but in this hypothetical scenario where you’re replacing Trump, can someone explain why Joe Biden would be better??” Minutes later, he followed that query with an even more befuddling tweet: “I finally got the answer now. I understand. Yall trust Biden more than yall trust Ye. I think I understand why, I just don’t feel the same way.”
As one would expect, much of the internet responded to these tweets with question marks, hysterical-laughing GIFs and instructions to “read a book” simply because Chance’s remarks are so ill-defined. It’s hard to tell who he’s even aiming his passive-aggressive frustration at. For one thing, the dichotomy he presents of pro-Biden and anti-Kanye ignores a substantial group of young, multiracial, working-class people—many former Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren supporters—who either refuse to vote for Biden this November or are less than enthusiastic to do so but also find West’s presidential bid repugnant and frankly unrealistic. Ironically enough, many of these young people either belong to his fan base or are at least familiar with him as a musician and activist. If Chance is directing his dissent at moderates and liberals who simply want to “get Trump out,” as he notes, rather than elect a candidate who best meets the needs of marginalized folks, it’s odd not to call out those people specifically, let alone suggest that West is that candidate.
Even more troubling than Chance’s misunderstanding of the current dialogue around the Democratic Party, though, is his seemingly genuine belief that West, a man with no political experience—he hasn’t even voted before—and questions about the legitimacy of chattel slavery, is fit to be president of the United States. Beyond the fact that a Kanye West presidential ticket is pretty much nonviable at this point in time, West’s political aspirations, as outlined in his interview with Forbes, are silly at best and fatal at worst.
In a phone interview with Forbes editor Randall Lane, the rapper and fashion designer questioned vaccines as a solution to ending the COVID-19 crisis, calling them the “mark of the beast.” He discussed other issues like police brutality, education and foreign policy with obscure, religious language and straightforward admissions of ignorance. Most controversially though, he touted a dangerous and false talking point, often used by conservative pundits and Evangelical Christian pro-life groups, about the function of abortion clinics—specifically Planned Parenthood—within the Black community as “the devil’s work” implemented by white supremacists.
Despite all of this, Chance felt strongly enough about his friend’s political agenda that he shifted to a strange, incoherent rant on Twitter expressing his qualms about the term “presidential,” replying to West naysayers, posting a poll asking how users felt about reparations, calling on the Chicago Police Department to denounce the killing of Black Panther Party activist Fred Hampton, and retweeting an earlier tweet that read “alota u niggas is racist.” It only took nearly eight hours of the rapper being corrected, mocked and endorsed by historically obtuse actor Terry Crews to partially recognize the errors of his ways.
“Ok this is me slowly trying to get down from this hill without falling and dying,” he tweeted Monday evening. “Whoever you vote for I hope they abolish the prison system as we know it, honor black reparations and all treaties with Indigenous folk and lastly end homelessness. Whomever that may be God bless em.” He went on to say, “I understand the improbability of Ye winning the 46th Presidential seat and I understand that everyone voting for Biden isn’t necessarily doing so enthusiastically.”
While any attempt at self-correction is certainly better than none, Chance still displays the same lack of knowledge he had about Black people within American politics when he defended West’s right to not be a Democrat two years ago. The stages of this entire debacle are also embarrassingly similar to that prior incident, in that it took endorsements from Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr., two famously wrong people, for him to change course. Additionally, Chance framing his erroneous tweets and insults to Black people as just another silly mistake shows a lack of maturity and understanding of true accountability from someone who considers himself a leader in his community.
Who knows if Chance will actually take time to understand the complexities of Black liberal and leftist thought in the current political climate? All we can truly hope for is that he will do so offline.