Kanye West criticized
United States President George W. Bush and the government’s reaction to
Hurricane Katrina last night during “A Concert for Hurricane Relief”
a live benefit concert that aired on NBC.
West had sharp words for
President Bush and the government’s reaction to the disaster wrought in
four states by Hurricane Katrina during the one-hour live special.
The show was aired live
on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and Pax and featured performances from Harry Connick Jr.,
Wynton Marsalis, Faith Hill, Aaron Neville and others.
West, who didn’t perform,
was on the stage with comedian Mike Myers reading a script from the teleprompter
when he deviated from the pre-written script.
“I hate the way they
portray us in the media,” West said echoing comments that big media outlets
are biased in how they present images of the hurricane victims.
“You see a black family,
it says, ‘They’re looting.’ You see a white family, it says, ‘They’re
looking for food.’
“It’s been five days
[waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black,” West
said. “And even for me to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite because
I’ve tried to turn away from the TV because it’s too hard to watch.
“I’ve even been shopping
before even giving a donation, so now I’m calling my business manager right
now to see what is the biggest amount I can give…the way America is set
up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible.
I mean, the Red Cross is doing everything they can. We already realize a lot
of people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way — and
they’ve given them permission to go down and shoot us!”
There was a tape delay,
but the person in charge of censoring was only looking for profane words and
didn’t know that West was not following his script.
West’s comments were
edited out of the West Coast airing of the show, which was broadcast three hours
Before the show was over,
the host, NBC News’ Matt Lauer, stated that emotions in the country are
high because of the destruction the hurricane has left, the handling of the
disaster and the strain of the war in Iraq.
that emotion is translated into inspiration, sometimes into criticism,”
Lauer said referring to West’s’ comments. “We’ve heard some
of that tonight. But it’s still part of the American way of life."