Kanye West performed live on SNL‘s season 44 premiere, but it was what happened after the end of the show that really got people talking.
The 41-year-old took the stage three times during the episode. The first time, he and fellow rapper Lil Pump dressed up as water bottles while performing “I Love It.” At the end of the show, wearing a red pro-President Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, Kanye sang “Ghost Town from Ye” with 070 Shake, Kid Cudi and Ty Dolla $ign. As the performance wound down, he gave a politically-charged speech, some of which was cut short from the broadcast.
Comedian and SNL alum Chris Rock, who was sitting in the audience, filmed part of it and posted the footage on his Instagram Stories. During Kanye’s speech, some members of the studio audience were heard booing, while others reacted with a smattering of applause. At one point, Rock was heard uttering the words, “Oh my God.”
“I wanna cry right now, black man in America, supposed to keep what you’re feelin’ inside right now,” Kanye sang, before saying, “The blacks want always Democrats. You know, it’s like the plan they did, to take the fathers out the home and put them on welfare. Does anybody know about that? That’s a Democratic plan.”
“It’s so many times that I talk to like, a white person about this, and they say, ‘How could you like Trump? He’s racist.’ Well if I was concerned about racism, I would have moved out of America a long time ago. We don’t just make our decisions off of racism. I’ma break it down to you right now: If someone inspires me and I connect with them, I don’t have to believe in all they policies,” the rapper said.
He noted his intent to run for office himself in 2020 and said, “We need to have a dialogue and not a diatribe.”
“They bully me backstage and say, ‘Don’t go out there with that hat on.’ They bully me backstage. They bully me! And then they say I’m in a sunken place. You wanna see the sunken place?” he said, removing his hat. “OK. I’ma listen to ya’ll now.”
“I’ma put my superman cape on ’cause this means you can’t tell me what to do,” he said, putting his hat back on. “Follow your heart and stop following your mind. That’s how we’re controlled, that’s how we’re programmed. And you want the world to move forward? Try love. Thank ya’ll for giving me this platform. I know some ya’ll don’t agree.”
The rapper tweeted on Sunday morning, “Had so much fun at SNL. Lorne [Michaels] agreed that I would host before the year is out. Need to set a date. Gonna be sooooooooo lit. In the words of Lil Pump …Esskeetit !”
(NBC and E! are part of the NBCUniversal family.)