TMZ staffer Van Lathan called out Kanye West when he made controversial comments about slavery in the TMZ newsroom on May 1. Here’s what you should know about the man appalled by the rapper’s words.
Things got heated in the TMZ newsroom on May 1 when staffer Van Lathan stood up to rapper Kanye West, 40, after he expressed his opinion that the history of slavery was a choice during his in-person interview with the publication. “When you hear about slavery for 400 years … that sounds like a choice,” Kanye said in the interview. “Like, you was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all?” Van stepped up shortly after the shocking comment when Kanye asked the room, “Do you feel that I’m being free and I’m thinking free?” “I actually don’t think you’re thinking anything,” Van passionately answered. “I think what you’re doing right now is actually the absence of thought.” After letting Kanye know he is entitled to his own opinion, he challenged the comment with his own. “We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from 400 years of slavery that you said, for our people, was a choice,” Van continued. “Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled, and brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something, to me, that’s not real.” Here’s everything you need to know about Van, who bravely had the courage to stand up to one of music’s biggest stars.
1.) He hosts a podcast that features his opinions on a variety of issues. Van Lathan’s The Red Pill often has guests, especially those in hip hop, and Van discusses current news events with them. His most recent episode focuses on Kanye’s shocking comments on social media and beyond. He appropriately called the episode, “Wake Up Mr. West.”
2.) He often reports on sports for TMZ. In a 2014 interview with Vlad TV, the journalist explained that he likes to keep things fun with his job at the popular publication but thinks it’s important to report on the serious headlines such as alleged domestic violence incidents regarding athletes. “No NFL player should even be raising to his voice to his girl for the next 12 months to two years,” he said in the interview when talking about how alleged abusers should be held responsible for their actions.
3.) In addition to helping in the TMZ newsroom, Van has worked as a tour guide on the TMZ bus tour for Hollywood tourists. He’s helped passengers get all the juicy info about celebs while taking them around some of the hottest spots in Los Angeles.
4.) He received a huge amount of support on social media after standing up to Kanye. “Thank you
@VanLathan for setting the record straight!,” one Twitter user tweeted after the Kanye’s TMZ interview. “So @VanLathan… I hope your parents are proud of you, especially today because I am with them. You do the damn thing!,” another user said. Others pointed out that Van said what everyone was thinking when Kanye expressed his slavery comment and some users just simply thanked Van for his bravery and honesty.
5.) His beliefs are important to him and he often expresses it on social media. Van’s Instagram and Twitter accounts are full of various pics, videos, quotes and other personal things that he posts to represent who he is and what he’s thinking. From praising celebs he admires like football player Colin Kaepernick to standing up for the black community when he feels they’re not represented well, Van seems to love trying to make a difference by being himself.