Watch: Kanye West Says Black Power 'Is Not Just to Vote Democrat for the Rest of Our Lives'


Grammy-winning rapper and fashion mogul Kanye West dropped in for a surprise 35-minute appearance before a crowd of about 500 at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival and told the audience that his understanding of “power” for black Americans doesn’t mean voting for Democrats.

“Don’t just be a demographic. Own your power,” Kanye West said, urging black Americans to reject the notion that conceding votes to one political party begets power. “Your power is not just to vote Democrat for the rest of our lives. That’s not the power, just voting on who they told us to vote on. That’s not what the power is.”

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West, joined on stage by Steven Smith, lead designer of West’s shoe brand Yeezy, was echoing a message about how Democrats have failed black voters that he’s taken from the stage of Saturday Night Live to radio interviews in recent weeks during the release of his latest album, Jesus Is

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