The rebels of Black history were among the enslaved Black people who pushed back against the 400-year old institution by leading enslaved people to freedom or heading an uprising. So when West, who has backed Donald Trump and Black Lives Matter critic Candace Ownes, compared himself to Tubman and Turner, Twitter got fired up.
“If this was 148 years ago I would have been more like Harriet or Nat,” Ye tweeted Tuesday, May 1 following an appearance on “TMZ Live” where he said in part, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years, that sounds like a choice. Like, you was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all?'”
if this was 148 years ago I would have been more like Harriet or Nat
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 1, 2018
In response, Twitter users promptly went after him.
“Much of what comes out of #KanyeWest’s mouth is objectionable, but comparing himself to Nat Turner & Harriet Tubman is downright over-the-top obscene,” a Twitter user posted.
“Kanye West Comparing himself to Harriet Tubman is the same when Mmusi Maimane said People call Him Mini-Mandale,” someone else said. “Harriet Tubman freed about 300 Slaves while on the other hand, Kanye West says slavery is a choice.”
“Kanye West, a man who had liposuction because he didn’t want society calling him fat, tweeted that he would have been Nat Turner and Harriet Tubman during slave days,” another tweeted. “Ah okay.”
“Geez, Kanye, Nat Turner was a slave who heroically stood up against an evil enterprise,” one user said. “You’re a pampered rapper with bodyguards. Not the least comparable. As for Harriet Tubman, you lack the proper body parts.”
Ye added insult to injury when he followed up hours later by tweeting a quote falsely attributed to Tubman.
I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves. – Harriet Tubman
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 2, 2018
Several historians and Tubman experts have said there is no evidence that she actually said that.
“My impression is that this is a late 20th-century quote from a fictionalized account of Tubman’s life,” Milton Sernett, professor emeritus of history at the Maxwell School and African American studies instructor at Syracuse University told the History News Network. “Whoever wishes to use the dubious quote as a political zinger ought to cite a reliable source.”
Historian Kate Clifford Larson, Ph.D., who also wrote “Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero,” said on the book’s website there is “no original quote for this. This quote was entirely made up, and became popularized starting sometime in the 1990s. There is no documentation, nor historical basis for this quote.”