The Biggest Takeaways From Kanye West's 21-Minute Jimmy Kimmel Interview

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Five years after a public disagreement regarding a late-night spoof, Kanye West made his return to Jimmy Kimmel Live! Thursday night. Much of the interview had a somber undertone, with a reflective and measured West discussing President Donald Trump and mental health issues. It wasn't all serious, though. West, who was there to promote his album Ye, also talked about his favorite Pornhub categories.
Not one to play softball (like some other late-night hosts), Jimmy Kimmel jumped right in with questions about West's support of President Donald Trump, which has the rapper's fanbase incensed. Kimmel asked if West was ever nervous about wife Kim Kardashian West and Trump being alone in the Oval Office, referencing Kardashian's successful lobbying of the White House to grant clemency for Alice Marie Johnson. "Well, [Trump] is a player," West said.
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West recently sparked outrage among friends and fans alike when he posted a photo of himself wearing a Make America Great Again hat, with even close friend John Legend calling the moment a "publicity stunt." On Kimmel, West defended himself, explaining why he has put his support behind the president: "Everyone around me tried to pick my candidate for me and then told me every time I said I liked Trump I couldn't say it out loud, that my career would be over...When I came out [of the hospital], I lost my confidence to take on the world and the possible backlash. It took me a year and a half to have the confidence...what [the support of Trump] represented [is] overcoming fear and doing what you felt no matter what anyone said...I quite enjoy when people are mad at me about certain things." In May, West revealed that he was hospitalized in 2016 in part due to opioid addiction.
West, who pictures himself a modern-day philosopher, recently announced he would publish a book of philosophy. So it was not a surprise when he dropped some philosoph-ye, arguing that the world is just a simulation — "We're all unpaid actors in some giant script that we didn't write" — and even mentioned Sarah Jessica Parker, who apparently taught him that we can have a "dialogue" about the president and not a "diatribe."
When Kimmel brings up West's now-infamous "George Bush doesn't care about Black people" comment after the government's inaction as Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, West was contemplative. Kimmel asks West what makes him think Trump cares about "any people at all." Kimmel threw to commercial before West could give a response. (Refinery29 has reached out to ABC about whether West ever answered the question.)
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Finally, the conversation veered toward porn (and why wouldn't it?). Kimmel asked West if his attitude towards women changed since having daughters North and Chicago. "Nah, I still look at Pornhub," West said, laughing. His preferred category? "Black on white."
The interview, his first major one since his sit-down with TMZ in which he suggested this country's centuries of slavery was a choice, has started an intense dialogue on Twitter about West's political leanings. Left-leaning media outlets are pointing to West's silence about whether Trump is good for "anyone at all," as Kimmel put it, while more conservative viewers are pointing to West's monologue about Trump to each make their own case on politics.
As quoted from Blades of Glory on Watch the Throne: "Nobody knows what it means, but it's provocative. It gets the crowd going." Surely that's Kanye West's motto.
Watch the full interview, below.
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.
If you are struggling with bipolar disorder and are in need of information and support, please call the National Alliance on Mental Illness at 1-800-950-6264. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NAMI” to 741741.
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