Kanye, MTV Address Iraq War

MTV’s “Choose or Lose ‘08” campaign has tapped Kanye West as the latest ally to aid in its efforts to bring awareness to the issues faced by young veterans of the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a new special set to air Monday (Jul 28) at 10pm, West will join MTV personality Sway Calloway to bring the stories of three returning vets as they adjust to life back home.

“Choose or Lose & Kanye West Present: Homecoming” brings viewers along as Sway and Kanye surprise Tirann Laws, Shameeka Gray and Lorenzo Zarate by visiting their homes to thank them for their service in the war in Iraq.

“I know my music inspires and helps a lot of people but you can always do more,” said West. “I teamed up with MTV and took the opportunity to share the spotlight with these veterans and hear their stories. I went to their homes to listen and get their first hand experiences. I wanted to hear their stories.

“There are hundreds of veterans out there who are falling through the cracks,” adds the multi-platinum Grammy Award-winning rapper and producer. “They make the ultimate sacrifices for us by laying down their lives, but it seems like a lot of them just get forgotten about.”

During the hour-long “Homecoming” special, Sway and Kanye will present the three spotlighted vets with a very special gift on behalf of MTV and the Dr. Donda West Foundation, paying off debts and taking care of rents and tuitions.

Laws, Gray and Zarate were chosen to represent a diverse cross-section of the more than 1.7 million young people who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan to date.

In addition to sharing their struggles, “Homecoming” aims to encourage viewers to get involved, highlighting the many resources available at Chooseorlose.com and through the Donda West Foundation.

The Chooseorlose.com is also a portal for viewers to interact directly with the “Homecoming” special.

“The stories of the veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are important and worth telling.” said MTV News and Production Executive VP Dave Sirulnick. “In conversations with veterans over the last year, it became clear that Kanye’s music is used by soldiers in Iraq as a way of connecting to home. Once these veterans return home, their stories are so moving that you can't help but want to do the right thing and help them out."

Since 1992, the Emmy-Award winning Choose or Lose campaign has worked to not only inform young people on the political issues that matter to them most, but also to support and encourage young voters to take action.

In 2004, the campaign inspired nearly 22 million 18-30 year olds to register and vote.