Posted Sept. 3, 2005 -- Grammy Award-winning Rapper Kanye West, in a televised benefit for hurricane victims, shocked viewers Friday by declaring that “President Bush doesn’t care about Black people!”
West, on stage with comedian Mike Myers, also blasted government officials who ordered National Guardsmen to shoot if necessary to quell any violence and looting in flood-ravaged New Orleans. "We already realized a lot of the people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way, and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us."
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West had earlier accused the government of deliberately delaying food and services to the mostly Black victims of the hurricane. America’s design, he said, is "to help the poor, the Black people, the less well-off as slow as possible."
NBC, which hosted the benefit, released a statement immediately following West’s off-the-cuff comments: "Kanye West departed from the scripted comments that were prepared for him, and his opinions in no way represent the views of the networks.
"It would be most unfortunate," the statement continued, "if the efforts of the artists who participated tonight and the generosity of millions of Americans who are helping those in need are overshadowed by one person's opinion."
The NBC program encouraged people to donate to disaster relief funds. Others participating in the benefit were trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, singer/pianist Harry Connick, Jr. and singer Tim McGraw, all from Louisiana; and singer Faith Hill, from Mississippi.
Was Kanye West on point, or were his comments inappropriate?