Entertainment

Kanye West’s ‘SNL’ Performance Prompts Heated Discussion of Race and Conservatism

Guests on 'The Ingraham Angle' sparred over the MAGA hat-wearing rapper's support of President Donald Trump

Image Credit: NBC

A frank discussion of race and politics emerged Monday night during a television segment about Kanye West between guests Jonathan Harris and Gianno Caldwell on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

Though the discussion began as an exploration of Kanye West’s recent pro-Trump speech on “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend, it quickly broadened and deepened — addressing matters of race in America in general and many Americans’ seeming reluctance to accept the idea that black people can espouse conservatism.

Related: Candace Owens on Kanye West: One of the ‘Bravest Men in America’

“I think [Kanye West is] getting booed because he’s saying one outlandish thing after another,” said Harris, a columnist and Democratic commentator.

“Can black people be supporters of Trump and not be crazy?” host Laura Ingraham asked him, after Harris also speculated that West’s struggles with mental illness or his being misinformed were among the only reasonable explanations for the rapper’s support of the current sitting president.

“There’s no reason to support Trump if you’re African-American,” Harris insisted after jokingly responding that no one could support Trump without being crazy.

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The other guest wasn’t having any of that.

“What I see from this whole situation is nothing less than a high-tech character assassination in the public square of social media,” said Fox News political analyst Gianno Caldwell, a native of Chicago, after referencing his dismay over responses he received on Instagram once he posted a photo of Kanye West wearing a MAGA hat.

Caldwell said that, as a black conservative, he knew that “the moment you begin to state things that maybe break or shatter groupthink or monolithic thought when it comes to being a Republican or being conservative, you’re considered an outcast.”

But “[Kanye] is saying stupid stuff and people are criticizing him. That’s what equality is,” Harris insisted, citing examples of Kanye West’s statements he “wasn’t sure if he could figure out whether or not Abraham Lincoln was white or black” and “slavery was a choice.”

“The moment you begin to state things that maybe break or shatter groupthink or monolithic thought when it comes to being a Republican or being conservative, you’re considered an outcast.”

“People are entitled to make mistakes, and they’re entitled to apologize,” Caldwell answered in the entertainer’s defense.

Related: President Donald Trump Trashes ‘SNL’ and Praises Kanye West

Kanye West’s appearance on “SNL” this past Saturday sparked important conversations about the topic of race and conservatism ranging from productive and respectful to downright vicious.

See the tweets below for a sampling of this — then see the video clip below for the frank discussion on “The Ingraham Angle.”

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.

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