Fact Check

Kanye West: 'I Am the Next Nelson Mandela'

Rumor: Rapper Kanye West proclaimed: 'I am the next Nelson Mandela.'

Published Dec 10, 2013

Claim:   Kanye West proclaimed: "I am the next Nelson Mandela."


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, December 2013]

Is it true that Kanye said "I am the next Nelson Mandela"?


Origins:   On 6 December 2013, the day after the passing of South African anti-apartheid figure Nelson Mandela, the Daily Currant published an article positing that rapper Kanye West was taking heat for having likened himself to Nelson Mandela in an interview:

Kanye West is under fire today for claiming that he will soon be a bigger cultural and civil rights icon than Nelson Mandela.

In an interview with WGCI radio in Chicago, the notoriously self-promoting rapper said that the 95-year-old South African leader recent death will finally allow people to focus more of their attention on West's own accomplishments.

In the studio to promote his new music video Bound 2, the conversation soon turned to the day's biggest news out of South Africa. West was asked who he thought on the world stage today could possibly replace Nelson Mandela in terms of leadership, and his unconventional answer left heads spinning.

"I am the next Nelson Mandela," West responded. "I'm only 36 years old, and when I look at everything I've accomplished, it's the only comparison that makes any sense. By the time I'm 95, I'm going to be a bigger hero than he ever was.

By the end of the day links and excerpts referencing this article were being circulated via social media, with many of those who encountered it mistaking it for a genuine news item. However, no such interview took place, and Kanye West made no such statements — the article was just a bit of humor from the Daily Currant spoofing West's penchant for self-aggrandizement.

As noted in the Daily Currant's "About" page, that web site deals strictly in satire:

The Daily Currant is an English language online satirical newspaper that covers global politics, business, technology, entertainment, science, health and media.

Q. Are your news stories real?

A. No. Our stories are purely fictional. However they are meant to address real-world issues through satire and often refer and link to real events happening in the world.

Last updated:   25 January 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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