Even though he is who he is, some folks in the community are giving Minister Louis Farrakhan the side eye on this one. He’s in lockstep with Kanye West after the controversial rapper’s long rant at the White House.
Farrakhan, the founder and head of the Nation of Islam, said West was right in his critique of the 13th amendment — which ended slavery in the United States.
“Kanye was right,” Farrakhan declared to an audience of fans in Detroit on Sunday. “Kanye talked about the 13th amendment and he was telling Mr. Trump that you don’t build something that’s supposed to be firm and have a trapped door in it unless you building a trapped door for somebody you want to trap.”
Though the amendment is broadly lauded by historians for abolishing slavery, West and Farrakhan have taken issue with a clause allowing for “involuntary servitude… as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”
“Felony!” said Farrakhan. “You in prison working for Fortune 500 companies but when you come out of prison, you can’t get a job at none of these companies but in prison you were working for nothing. That’s a new form of slavery.”
Meanwhile, the Southern Poverty Law Center – which looks out for civil rights violations and violator – has labeled Farrakhan an extremist. He has been criticized for several years for anti-Semitic and anti-white preachings. Earlier this year Twitter stripped him of his verification over his views. Despite this, Farrakhan remains influential in certain circles, frequently meeting with Democratic congressmen and sitting just two seats away from former President Bill Clinton at the funeral of Aretha Franklin.
Kanye West stirred up a lot of talk when he made his controversial comment on the 13th amendment a few weeks ago in tweet that also included an image of the rapper wearing a MAGA hat.
“This represents good and America becoming whole again. We will no longer outsource to other countries,” said West. “We build factories here in America and create jobs. We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment. Message sent with love.”
West has made criminal justice reform a hallmark of his friendship with and advocacy of President Trump. The billionaire has often expressed his fondness for the rapper and has said he would even be willing to overrule his more hardline Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, in favor of legislation supported by West and like-minded criminal justice reform advocates.
TheWrap notes that Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson after West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, lobbied on her behalf. It was something President Obama passed on during his presidency on multiple occasions.