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Stevie Wonder says Kanye West slavery comments are "foolishness"

Kanye West on slavery

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Stevie Wonder has called out Kanye West for saying slavery is a choice, calling the idea "foolishness" and likening it to Holocaust denial. Wonder brought up West without prompting during an interview Thursday after a show at a West Hollywood club.

"There's been a lot of talk about what was said by Kanye," Wonder said. "I want people to understand that the truth is the truth and a lie is a lie.

"We all know that slavery was not a choice," he went on. "So I just think that people need to understand that if you know your history, if you know the truth, you know that's just foolishness."

Wonder said saying slavery is a choice is like saying the Holocaust is not real. West recently made the remarks in an interview with TMZ.

"When you hear about slavery for 400 years, for 400 years, that sounds like choice," West said. He defended his statements and did not back down from them on Twitter after widespread criticism.

Tanisha Ford, associate professor of Africana studies and history at University of Delaware, joined CBSN to discuss the impact of West's remarks.

"Those comments show how completely out of touch Kanye is at this moment in time, and I think they would have his mother Donda West, a former college professor, enraged," Ford said.

"It's a far-cry from the Kanye West we knew who made the song 'Crack Music,' which made a link between slavery, the prison industrial complex and the rise of crack cocaine used in the black community."

#IfSlaveryWasAChoice trends after Kanye West calls 400 years of slavery "a choice"

Wonder spoke softly, not angrily, and said he also felt sympathy for West, especially over the rapper losing his mother, who died after having cosmetic surgery procedures in 2007.

"You know he lost his mother, the horrible thing that happened," Wonder said. "I don't know if he had a chance to really mourn about all that."

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