KANYE West has kicked off his presidential bid in his typically controversial style.
Although many found his announcement surprising, the talented rapper has been vocal about politics for years.
Is Kanye West running for President?
Kanye West announced his 2020 presidential bid on Twitter.
"We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future," he tweeted.
"I am running for president of the United States! #2020VISION."
However, West has already missed the deadline to file as an independent candidate in many US states.
Kanye's behaviour in recent weeks has raised concerns that he is in the midst of a manic episode caused by his bipolar disorder – a condition he has spoken about publicly in the past.
What's happened so far?
Kanye has always been vocal about politics.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, West appeared on a live television fundraiser. The rapper made a lengthy speech about racial injustice.
He said: "I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family, it says they're looting, if you see a white family, it says they're looking for food."
He ended his segment with the famous accusation: "George Bush doesn't care about Black people".
This sparked a national debate about the government's approach to hurricane relief.
Bush later wrote in his book that Kanye's words marked an "all-time low" in his presidency.
West’s mother Donda died in 2007 and many have seen this as the starting point of his unpredictable outbursts.
Donda was a professor and a single mother from the time Kanye was three and was a huge source of inspiration for the rapper.
He has spoken about the pain her death caused him.
Kim Kardashian posted a selfie with Hillary Clinton during her Democratic presidential candidate fundraiser.
Kim and Kanye were both at Hillary's fundraiser and West can be seen in the background of the photo.
Many took this as the couple endorsing Hillary.
Also in 2015, West announced that he would be running for president at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.
He ended his acceptance speech for the Video Vanguard Award by saying he would be running for the presidency in 2020.
He said: "And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided, in 2020, to run for president,"
This is the year that West began to endorse Donald Trump, much to the dismay of many of his fans.
His Saint Pablo Tour is tainted by his many political tirades about the Republican president.
At a concert in San Jose, West said he had not voted in the election but he would have backed Trump if he had.
He added: “I don’t think his approach was just entertaining, because that trivializes it, I actually think his approach was absolutely genius because it f***ing worked.”
Two days after this rant, Kanye cancelled his remaining tour dates.
A few weeks later, he was admitted to hospital due to "exhaustion".
Kanye has spoken about this "breakdown", or as he calls it, a "breakthrough" with radio host Charlamagne tha God.
He said: “Two days before [I met with Donald Trump] I was in the hospital, I was on opioids. I was addicted to opioids. I had plastic surgery because I was trying to look good for y’all.
Kanye went to Trump Tower to meet Donald Trump.
Kanye ramped up his controversial statements in 2018.
He said: "I just love Trump, that's my boy!" and declared he "felt a freedom" wearing the red Make America Great Again (MAGA) cap.
Kanye also referred to Trump as "my brother" and claimed they both have "dragon energy".
He also riled fans by making a controversial statement about slavery, implying the enslavement of African Americans over centuries may have been a "choice".
He said: "When you hear about slavery for 400 years… for 400 years? That sounds like a choice."
Also in 2018, West clarified his political leanings in an interview with Charlamagne tha God.
West said he liked "the Trump campaign and maybe the Bernie Sanders principles. That would be my mix".
In 2018, Kanye also visited Trump, this time in the Oval Office.
He told the president, while wearing a MAGA hat: "You know, they tried to scare me to not wear this hat — my own friends. But this hat, it gives me — it gives me power, in a way.
"It was something about when I put this hat on, it made me feel like Superman. You made a Superman. That was my — that’s my favorite superhero. And you made a Superman cape."
July 4, 2020
The Grammy winner revived his presidential bid when he announced his presidential dreams on Twitter.
He wrote: “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future.
“I am running for president of the United States!”
July 8, 2020
Just a few days after his tweet, Kanye revealed his plans in a head-turning Forbes interview, explaining his policies and views.
The rapper said he would be running as a candidate for the Birthday Party, "because when we win, it’s everybody’s birthday".
He also revealed that his running mate would be a preacher from Wyoming named Michelle Tidball.
July 19, 2020
Kanye broke down in tears during his first presidential campaign rally in South Carolina.
He told the crowd that Kim almost had an abortion for North.
“She was crying… and for one month and two months and three months, we talked about her not having this child," he said. "She had the pills in her hand.
“I was having the rapper’s lifestyle. I was sitting up in Paris, and I had my leather pants on and I had my laptop up and I got all of my creative ideas.
“And the screen went black and white and God said, ‘if you f**k with my vision I’m going to f**k with yours'.
“And I called my wife and she said, 'We’re gonna have this baby'. I said, 'We’re gonna have this child'.
"So even if my wife were to divorce me after this speech, she brought North into the world when I didn’t want to. She stood up and she protected that child.”
West also made a controversial comment about historical civil rights figure Harriet Tubman, saying she “never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people”.
July 21, 2020
Concerns over the rapper’s health have developed after Kanye claimed the Kardashian family tried to "lock him up".
“Kriss don’t play with me you and that calmye are not allowed around my children. Ya’ll tried to lock me up,” he wrote in one message of the family matriarch.
He then posted a screenshot of a text he sent Kris Jenner, 64, which read: “This is Ye. You ready to talk now or are still avoiding my calls.”
In another, he said: “Everybody knows the movie Get Out is about me,” referring to the Jordan Peele horror film.
What is his political position on big issues?
Abortion and birth control
West has made his anti-abortion standpoint a key political priority.
He spoke at length about the issue during his first presidential campaign rally in South Carolina.
In an interview about his presidential bid, West said: "I am pro-life because I'm following the word of the Bible" and said that "Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil's work".
In October 2019, he made these views known, stating "thou shalt not kill".
Black Lives Matter
Kanye's racial politics have been confusing over the years.
In November 2016, West said that black people should "stop focusing on racism".
However, much of the music he produces is focused on systematic racism, for example his song "Blood on the leaves", or "New Slaves".
He clarified that his support for Trump did not mean he did not "believe in the Black Lives Matter movement. West took part in the George Floyd protests.
He also donated $2million to help victims of the rioting that took place during demonstrations and paid for Floyd's daughter's college tuition.
West has stated that schools were "made for us to not truly be all we can be but to be just good enough to work for the corporations that designed the school systems".
He added that removing prayer in school was a plot by the Devil that has increased the suicide rate among children and murder rate in Chicago.
However, back in 2011 Kanye set up Donda’s House, a charity designed to help kids stay in school, in honour of hismother, Donda, who died in 2007.
Kanye said:"I thought back to when I was in high school: I was very into music, but the equipment was really expensive and hard to get a hold of. The basketball court at school was free.
"Or it was free to play a violin or a drum set, but the way music on the radio is made, there was nothing in high school that helped with that."
The charity has since changed its name to distance themselves from Kanye's controversial politics.
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