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Kanye West first presidential rally
Kanye West at his first presidential campaign rally in South CarolinaScreenshot via

Kanye West holds his first presidential campaign rally

The rapper’s first event took place in Charleston, South Carolina

Despite reports last week that Kanye West’s US presidential campaign was over, the rapper is going ahead with his last-minute entry into the race. Last night, he held his first campaign rally in Charleston, South Carolina.

West took to the stage in a bulletproof vest with the words ‘2020’ shaved into his head, Stereogum reports. Attendees were apparently asked to sign a COVID-19 liability release form and were asked to wear a mask.

Without a mic, he spoke to an audience of a few hundred people about Christianity, abortion, his Percocet addiction, and his adidas and Gap deals. He also talked about race in regards to cultural institutions like Universal Music and the NBA, which profit from Black talent but do not have Black ownership, and that the Democrats don’t do anything for Black people, saying: “The most racist thing ever said out loud is that if Kanye West runs for president, it would split the Black vote.”

From clips posted to social media, much of the address made for difficult viewing. He asserted that Harriet Tubman “never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people”, which drew groans from the audience.

Even more uncomfortable was his discussion of abortion, which West has previously said he is against. In his rally, the rapper told a story about how he believed divine intervention stopped his wife, Kim Kardashian West, from getting an abortion: “She brought North into the world when I didn’t want to. She stood up and she protected that child.”

He started crying while discussing his father, who he said wanted his mother to have an abotion while she was pregnant with him. “My dad wanted to abort me,” West said. “My mom saved my life. There would have been no Kanye West because my dad was too busy. I almost killed my daughter! I almost killed my daughter!”

After being questioned by an audience member, West said that he was not in favour of banning abortion, but that financial assistance should be made available to women who do have children. “It should always be legal,” he said. “But there should be an option of maximum increase available... Maximum increase would be, everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars.”

The event reportedly ended after West was drowned out by the shouting crowd.

West announced his plans to run for president on July 5. He missed the deadline to qualify for the ballot in several key states, but has qualified to run in some, such as Oklahoma. He needed to collect 10,000 signatures to run in South Carolina, and tweeted a list of locations around the Charleston area where petitions could be signed. A poll recently put West at two per cent

TMZ recently reported that people close to West are worried that he is in the midst of a serious bipolar episode, which his presidential campaign is wrapped up in. The rapper previously revealed a bipolar diagnosis in 2018, and has in the past said that he does not take his medication for his mental health issues, though it is unknown if this is still the case today.

Watch a full stream of the event below.