Harriet Tubman's Descendant Says Kanye's Attack Proves 'He Doesn’t Even Understand Who She Was'

Harriet Tubman's great-great-great-niece Tina Wyatt didn't mince words this week after Kanye West said the famed abolitionist "never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people."

Speaking with TMZ on Tuesday, Wyatt said: "If it hadn’t been for people like her, he would still be on that plantation. He would not be able to be out there saying the things he says and he wouldn’t have the money he has because they would have it all."

She told the outlet that West's criticism of her great-great-great-aunt, whom she calls "Aunt Harriet," showed that "he doesn’t even understand who she was."

"I don’t even understand what he meant when he said that 'she did what she did so they could go work for white people,' " Wyatt continued. "I don’t understand what that meant."

She went on to say that Tubman's advice to West, 43, now would be to "uplift."

"I don’t know if he’s doing it or not, I don’t know where he’s putting his money," Wyatt told TMZ. "Put your money into something that will uplift other people," she said. "Him … running to be president is not one of them."

West's remark about Tubman came during an emotionally erratic, hourlong appearance in South Carolina on Sunday ostensibly in support of his unlikely presidential campaign, which he formally launched last week.

When he spoke about Tubman — a former slave who escaped to freedom in the mid 1800s before helping dozens of other slaves get free along the "Underground Railroad" — he drew audible disapproval from attendees.

(The moment echoed a 2018 controversy when West said he felt like the enslavement of black people in America was a "choice": “You hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years?! That sounds like a choice,” he said then.)




In a 2019 Vogue cover story, Kardashian West, 39, said that her husband had again accepted that he is bipolar, though he opted out of treating the disorder with pharmaceuticals.

"For him, being on medication is not really an option, because it just changes who he is," she said, adding, "It is an emotional process, for sure."

A source told PEOPLE earlier this month that West had been "doing well for a long time. In the past, he has suffered both manic and depressive episodes related to his bipolar disorder."

"Right now," the source said, "he is struggling again."

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