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Kanye West’s Comments About Running for President and Changing His Name Have Us Seriously Confused

Ready for some news that will make you feel like you’re taking crazy pills? We weren’t either, but here it is: Kanye West announced a 2024 presidential run and a dramatic name change while at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival, and the details of both are pretty shocking. We never thought we’d say this, but can Kim Kardashian please talk some sense into this man?

West was speaking on stage at the festival when he shared his future plans, which were met with audible skepticism from the crowd. “When I run for president in 2024—” West begins, then pauses at the crowd’s reaction: “What y’all laughing at?”

And then there’s this: “When people say it’s crass to call yourself a billionaire, I say I might legally change my name to Christian Genius Billionaire Kanye West for a year until y’all understand exactly what it is,” the rapper said. “It will be on the license plate.”

West gave limited details on what platform, exactly, he’d be running on, mentioning that he’d “create so many jobs” (hmm, where have we heard that before?). He also said this: “I’m not going to run, I’m going to walk…What they’re saying is Kanye’s crazy — one in three African Americans are in jail and all the celebrities are in jail also because they can’t say nothing because they’re so scared.”

We’re having trouble parsing a lot of meaning from that statement, but West did make one more coherent point: That African-American voters are treated as a “demographic,” rather than assuming and allowing for individual preferences. “A boardroom says ‘this is the black demographic…This is who you’re supposed to vote on,'” he continued. “This is what you’re supposed to buy. This is your Popeye’s chicken sandwich you’re supposed to eat on.”

Obviously, what West is pointing to is a real and legitimate problem. But sadly, the rest of his comments made us uncertain that he’s the man to address it. 2024 presidential run or no, we’re having some trouble getting past that name change comment — and we imagine that voters might too.


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