Kanye West remained onstage after his performance on Saturday Night Live tonight and gave a politically themed speech to the audience after the broadcast ended.
In reports to Variety and clips captured on social media, he was at times confrontational as he discussed his support for U.S. President Donald Trump, his pledge to run for president in 2020, the need for a “dialogue not a diatribe” and other familiar themes similar to his recent statements.
“So many times I talk to a white person and say, ‘How could you like Trump, he’s racist?’ Well, if I was concerned about racism I would’ve moved out of America a long time ago,” he said at one point. At another, he moves rapidly from topic to topic. “You wanna see the sunken place? Okay, Im’a listen to y’all now. I’ma put my superman cape on, because this means you can’t tell me what to do… You want the world to move forward? Try love.”
The castmembers appeared embarrassed and two performers gently shook their heads in unison as he spoke. The audience was quiet and booed him at least twice. “The entire studio fell dead silent,” one eyewitness told Variety. West concluded by thanking the show for the platform “even though some of y’all don’t agree.”
It had already been a bumpy evening: West and his accompanists veered between mediocre and bad on the three songs the show generously gave him. In the opening spot, West performed his latest single I Love It with Lil Pump.
The pair were comically dressed as bottles of Perrier and Fiji water (respectively) that recalled Justin Timberlake’s “Liquorville” skits on the show. While the song’s chorus was self-censored to “You’re such a freaky girl,” it sounded like a few profanities slipped out during the track’s brief two minutes. The costumes were funny, but even many fans of the song agreed that the performance was not strong.
The reaction on social media was largely merciless.
For the second performance, he was joined by Teyana Taylor for an unreleased song that leaked over the summer (her K.T.S.E. was one of the string of five West-produced albums in five weeks that dropped in May and June). The two bounced through the track competently, standing still while the voiceover that ends the song ran for nearly a full minute.
Finally, instead of the show’s usual sendoff – during which the cast and guests wave and chat while the credits roll and house band plays – the cast quickly left the stage to clear room for West, Kid Cudi and 070 Shake for Ghost Town.
West took the stage wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and delivered his lines competently, but Cudi was painfully off-key and 070 Shake – who is strong on the album – was uneven. As the credit-roll ended, West was inviting the cast back onstage, and then launched into his speech shortly afterward.
West promised earlier this week that another album, Yandhi – his third of the year, including Ye and his Kids See Ghosts collaboration with Kid Cudi – would arrive on Saturday night, although it had not appeared on streaming services by 2:45 a.m. ET Sunday.