“I do find him different than he was back then,” the singer said in a Nov. 3 interview on the podcast On With Kara Swisher. “I didn’t see hints of this kind of harmful behavior back then.
“But, you know, I think life happens to people, and I think the death of his mother probably had something to do with this,” he continued, citing the passing of Donda West in 2007. “I don’t want to play armchair psychologist, but he’s definitely changed and a lot of us who have known him over the years are really concerned about it.”
Despite his worrying, Legend made it clear he’s maintaining distance from his former collaborator. “We have not been friends for a while now, and so I’m not personally doing anything,” he shared. “But I do know people who are, and a lot of people are concerned about him.”
The Voice coach went on to decry Ye’s recent spate of antisemitic comments and hate speech. “I think we need to be clear about how insidious and nasty antisemitism is and has been for centuries,” he said. “How it’s caused millions and millions of deaths. It’s cropped up in societies all over the world, and it’s made life very difficult for Jews all over the world for a long time. And it is not some new discovery. It’s not some innovation in hate.
“So when people who claim to be free thinkers or innovators or creative people just end up landing back at this centuries old meme of using the same stereotypes and tropes to malign Jews and instigate harm against Jews — this is an old but very dangerous tactic that has resulted in a lot of harm and a lot of death for people,” the singer added. “And we don’t need to do much digging to understand how evil anti-Blackness has been in this country, particularly. The history is robust and has been discussed very often, but for someone who’s supposedly free thinking and independently thinking, landing back at these very tried and true forms of hate and bigotry — it’s harmful and it doesn’t help anyone.”
Legend also insisted there’s “always a place for forgiveness,” but that doesn’t mean he thinks Ye should escape accountability for his recent behavior. “That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t face consequences for what they do wrong,” he concluded. “But I also do believe in forgiveness.”
Listen to Legend’s full conversation about West below.