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West Raps Bush

September 4th, 2005

Myers-WestNBC censored the remarks of a performer on a benefit performance for criticizing George W. Bush. Rapper Kanye West departed from the script during the event, the same kind of scripting that you usually have to endure from star-studded ceremonies like awards shows, where the presenters have to deliver these awful, corny lines. West was trading off with Mike Myers, but West wasn’t having any of this cornball crap. He wasn’t obscene, he wasn’t suggesting violence. He was anguished, and he was angry for good reason. But NBC couldn’t bear criticism of Bush, so as soon as they could, they cut off the live broadcast, and on the West Coast rebroadcast they cut the segment entirely. Here’s the transcript:

Myers: The landscape of the city has changed dramatically, tragically and perhaps irreversibly. There is now over 25 feet of water where there was once city streets and thriving neighborhoods.

West: I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, “They’re looting.” You see a white family, it says, “They’re looking for food.” And, you know, it’s been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black. 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, and just to imagine if I was down there, and those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help — with 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!

Myers: [speaking quickly, trying to regain the meaning in the script] And subtle, but in many ways even more profoundly devastating, is the lasting damage to the survivors’ will to rebuild and remain in the area. The destruction of the spirit of the people of southern Louisiana and Mississippi may end up being the most tragic loss of all.

West: George Bush doesn’t care about black people!

Myers did a visible double-take on that one, and that’s when NBC cut the feed and switched to Chris Tucker, who was unprepared to take over. NBC later apologized for the criticism, and implied that they censored the comments because it might discourage people from donating money. Pure B.S., of course–what kind of idiot would be ready to give money to save people from starvation, and then hold back because a rapper ripped at Bush? I don’t know, maybe the serious wingnuts would–but I’d be willing to bet that more people decided to give more money than others decided not to give, as a result of the comments made by West. They were words that needed to be spoken, and a lot of people admired the rapper’s willingness to say so.

To get the full impact and the real nuance and emotion behind the statements, you have to watch the video–it is really quite surreal, watching Myers, knowing he’s aware that West is going off script, trying not to react to it. West, meanwhile, seems nervous, emotional, and genuinely upset, but not rapper-style-angry that you might expect. Not “Yo! Kill that motherfucker Bush!” Instead, he’s almost guy-on-the-street, relatively mild-mannered, I’m-nervous-but-I-gotta-say-this. Here are the videos from Crooks & Liars; if they don’t work here, try them at the original site.

Windows Media Video (Mac software here)
QT Video (if problems, download VLC and the video)

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  1. joe
    September 4th, 2005 at 13:49 | #1

    It sure seems like Kanye hates white people. If racism still exists, it’s people like him who still exhibit it.

  2. Anonymous
    September 4th, 2005 at 14:01 | #2

    “…maybe the serious wingnuts would–”

    Look who’s talking. I’m rather surprised at you. I enjoy your posts because I consider you to be an educated professional capable of rational thought and discussion. But that you, or any of these lunatic liberals, could take seriously, or espouse, the view that Mr Bush (and Republicans in general) have withheld aid from these folks because they’re black is ludicrous. To use your line, what proof do you have??

    Has it occurred to you that a large number of folks in New Orleans are black, which would result in more blacks than whites being adversely affected? As for the so-called “delay” in aid, what delay? Have you any idea the logistics involved in moving that many people and that much equipment into a devastated area that quickly? Perhaps if Louisiana were a better managed state, the disaster relief teams could’ve gotten in there quicker. Should they have been in there sooner….I think so. Did the state management infrastructure allow for that….I guess we’ll find out soon. Did you read the reports from 28 August that told of President Bush imploring the LA governor to evacuate the city and, even though the mayor gave the order, many decided to stay behind? Has it occurred to you that disaster relief efforts are concentrated at the local and state level (especially in a state like Louisiana, where they’ve endured such weather before) and that their ineffectiveness might be a large part of the problem? While they may get some funding from federal coffers, the planning, coordination, and overall management takes place at the state and local level.

    As for Mr West, it’s difficult to take a rap “artist” seriously. If they’re “his people”..”…and those are my people down there…”…why isn’t he taking a more active role in doing something instead of bitching about what “whitey” is doing?

    You can do better than this.

  3. Linda K.
    September 4th, 2005 at 14:04 | #3

    Kanye has embarrassed many of his fellow African Americans….. and I am one of them.

  4. BlogD
    September 4th, 2005 at 14:40 | #4

    Anonymous: First of all, the quote you give was not expressing my agreement with West, it was pointing out that most people would not refrain from giving to the survivors of the hurricane just because West blasted Bush on TV; only people who are callous and shallow would do that.

    Has it occurred to you that a large number of folks in New Orleans are black, which would result in more blacks than whites being adversely affected?
    I don’t know what you’re responding to here, but it’s not anything I wrote. What, do you think I believe that black people were put there or something? Of course the black population is high, and blacks are disproportionately represented in the poorer population, which had no means of escaping the city and no where to go. I don’t know what you’re suggesting I believed, but obviously you’ve got the completely wrong idea. The point was not why most people there are black; the point is that relief came far more slowly than it would have if the people in trouble were affluent whites. And I have given evidence of this, if you’ve read the last few posts, the Tulane/Charity hospital evacuations being an excellent example.
    As for the so-called “delay” in aid, what delay? Have you any idea the logistics involved in moving that many people and that much equipment into a devastated area that quickly?
    What delay?? How about a nine-day delay after it became clear that Katrina would do serious damage in the region? How about a five-day delay after the damage was done, when it only took two days for the world to get relief to Tsunami victims in Asia? If you seriously believe that five days after the damage was done, with four days beforehand where we saw it coming, was not a “delay,” then you are not capable of the “rational thought and discussion” that you claim I am not delivering here.
    Perhaps if Louisiana were a better managed state, the disaster relief teams could’ve gotten in there quicker.What, are you reading from a Bush administration script? I linked to a request from Louisiana Governor Blanco to President Bush asking for help dated August 27th. If the government’s only excuse for inaction was that Louisiana didn’t do its paperwork right, then there is no excuse at all. It wasn’t Louisiana that was poorly organized–it was the fact that the resources were not delivered there for almost a week.

    Did you read the reports from 28 August that told of President Bush imploring the LA governor to evacuate the city and, even though the mayor gave the order, many decided to stay behind?You aren’t paying attention here, friend. The people who stayed behind, for the most part, were not people who could evacuate. These are people with no cars, people who could not catch a train or bus because the government did not provide them, people who didn’t even have a place to go to if they did evacuate. What should they have done? Before the storm hit, should they have walked to Texas with a hurricane bearing down on them? After the storm, should they have swum to Mississippi? And now, the people trapped at the Superdome are not allowed to leave, blocked by the troops.

    Has it occurred to you that disaster relief efforts are concentrated at the local and state level (especially in a state like Louisiana, where they’ve endured such weather before) and that their ineffectiveness might be a large part of the problem? While they may get some funding from federal coffers, the planning, coordination, and overall management takes place at the state and local level.Has it occurred to you that the magnitude of this disaster is more than the usual disaster, and that it requires more than the state is able to bear? This disaster was several orders of magnitude worse than others in our history; Hurricane Andrew will look like a mere summer squall in comparison. The Louisiana government was screaming for troops and supplies; how can they have bad management if there’s nothing to manage? That the state response is dependent upon the aid that the federal government provides, and cannot do much with the limited supplies it has, with 35% of its own national guard and most of its equipment (such as water purification equipment) in Iraq, as well as levee construction and other disaster preparedness cut by the federal government over the past several years?

    You can do better than this.So can you. Better than, by the looks of it, just reading the Free Republic forums and repeating the spin here.

  5. BlogD
    September 4th, 2005 at 16:41 | #5

    Did you read the reports from 28 August that told of President Bush imploring the LA governor to evacuate the city and, even though the mayor gave the order, many decided to stay behind?Just to be more clear, I will reiterate one point here: on August 27th, one day before Bush “implored” Blanco to evacuate–which your Freeper sources are claiming happened before Blanco did anything–Blanco sent this letter to Bush, which included:In response to the situation I have taken appropriate action under State law and directed the execution of the State Emergency Plan on August 26, 2005 in accordance with Section 501 (a) of the Stafford Act. A State of Emergency has been issued for the State in order to support the evacuations of the coastal areas in accordance with our State Evacuation Plan and the remainder of the state to support the State Special Needs and Sheltering Plan.Pursuant to 44 CFR 206.35, I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster. I am specifically requesting emergency protective measures, direct Federal Assistance, Individual and Household Program (IHP) assistance, Special Needs Program assistance, and debris removalRead the letter for yourself. She reported, quite clearly, to Bush directly, that all state bodies involved in evacuations were in action and that federal help was necessary. She stated clearly: I request Direct Federal assistance for work and services to save lives and protect property.

    That help did not even begin to come until September 2nd. Look at your calendar. Count the days. Six days. Six days after the formal, written request, citing all relevant statutes.

    So tell me again all about how Bush was ahead of the curve and Blanco was at fault?

  6. Morgan
    September 5th, 2005 at 14:35 | #6

    Luis,

    Once again, I apologize for the anonymous post.

  7. D. FESTLER
    October 15th, 2005 at 12:54 | #7

    FOOD:Kanye West

    I WALKED IN THE CRIB. I GOTS TWO KIDS AND MY BABY MOMMA LATE, UHHU, UHHU.

    SO I HAD TO DID WHAT I HAD TO DID BECAUSE I HAD THE KIDS.

    IM UP ALL NIGHT GETTIN MY MONEY RIGHT.

    UNTIL THE BLUE AND WHITES, POEPOE-POEPOE!

    NOW MONEY COMIN SLOW BUT ALTEAST THERE GETTIN TO KNOW SLOW MOTION BETTER THEN.

    YEAH, I CAN MAKE IT RIGHT IF I COULD JUST SWALLOW MY PRIDE AND PUT MY GUN AWAY.

    This clown is a poetic genius…Move over Keats, Pope, Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Emerson, etc. you are about to be outdone by the brilliant work of Kanye West.

    Sell drugs and do crimes with your kids around, thats good.

    Always use a gun and violence to solve lifes problems. Never be responsible for your own actions and place the blame for your life with others(i.e. George Bush).

    Kanye has a very creative approach to grammar as well. Ohhh, sorry, ebonics has no syntax.

    Yeah, your right! Kanye West is a brilliant man.

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