By now I’m sure you’ve all seen the clip of the live telecast of Kanye West at the American Red Cross fundraiser for the victims of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy. An obviously nervous and emotional Kanye delivered the following off the script while standing next to a very composed and professional Mike Myers.
“I hate the way they portray us in the media. We see a black family, it says they’re looting, see a white family, it says they’re looking for food. And you know it’s been five days because most of the people are black. And even for me to complain about, 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’s, what is the biggest amount I can give. And and, just to imagine, if I was, if I was down there and those are, those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything, that we can help. With the set up, the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well off as slow as possible. I mean this is, the Red Cross is doing what they can. We already realize 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.”
“George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
As with anything, there are people on both sides, some applauding Kanye and others disgusted by him. NBC and the American Red Cross both have issued statements distancing themselves from Mr. West’s opinion. I would like to issue a similar statement from the world of Hip Hop but neither do I have the authority nor proof that all of Hip Hop disagrees with what Kanye said or did. I’d also like to speak for the Black community and release a statement as well but my position as H.N.I.C. ( “Head Negro In Charge ” – for the Meloninly challenged) hasn’t been confirmed yet. Also, a lot of black people feel the way that Kanye does. That being said I feel I have to say something.
Kanye is obviously full of anxiety and in a heightened emotional state. I’m sure the feeling is shared equally between the shock of what’s happening to the people affected by Katrina and the fact that he’s about to open that big Kanye mouth once again and give the world and the ever-on-vacation Dubya a piece of his mind. In Kanye’s first statements he’s alluding to the idea that the lack of assistance is a racial issue. Also a lot of people are pulling that card due to the fact that Black people are in the majority of the victims of Katrina. The fact that almost 70% of the city is black seems to miss most people, therefore of course the victims are going to be mostly black.
I recently had a mini discussion with my cousin about a similar issue because of a news article saying how nobody is speaking about how this is affecting black people. My cousin’s point was that this is true and it needs to be brought up because then it can spark discussion and bring about help and a change for those in that situation. My point was that this is the wrong time for this discussion because people need help regardless of race and we should focus more on that than on fulfilling a pro-black agenda. Kanye’s rant illustrates the point I was trying to get across beautifully. Thanks ¬Ç√Ñ√≤ye!
Whether or not he makes good points isn’t the point at all. I don’t like how the media portrays us either (he is of course referring to the images going around the internet of news articles that depict someone black with items captioned by “looting and someone white with items captioned by “found “) but then again I don’t like how we represent ourselves in the media either. snip Bill Cosby type rant
By making these statements publicly now and during a fundraiser for aid no less he sparked a flood of calls into NBC and The American Red Cross offices to complain about his statements. The phone lines are already busy with calls of people trying to give a donation or find out information about their families etc. Now those calls that need to get through are competing against calls complaining about Kanye West. This is a problem. It’s blocking help and information that is more important from getting through to the people that need it; those people being the victims of Hurricane Katrina and those trying to help them. This is not a time for discussion, people are dieing. As the mayor of New Orleans said on CNN, “there should be a ban on press conferences until we get some help “. This isn’t the time to debate race relations, save that for when the people are fed and dry.
These statements just further widen the gap between the different races in this country and serves to help noone. Yes, the people in the area’s affected are mostly black. Yes, they were poor. Yes, they were unable to evacuate in time due to the fact they were poor not because they were black. Yes, something needs to be done about people having to live in poverty. Yes, New Orleans should have had a better evacuation plan to help those that couldn’t get out themselves. Yes yes yes but now is not the time to point fingers, lay blame and discuss by committee these points while people are sitting around and literally dieing next to each other waiting for help; especially in one of the world’s richest countries and only remaining “Super Power “. Again I paraphrase the mayor, “Let’s get some help down here! ”
Now on to Kanye’s second statement. Poor guy, you can see when he says it it’s like he’s got so much running around in his head that he can’t form a complete thought and summarizes it all in a monumental “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Damn Kanye, you’re going to get a call from your momma on this one.
Whether or not George Bush does in fact not care about black people is debatable I’m sure but again now is not the time for debate. George has seriously dropped the ball on this one . yet again. It’s to be expected though, when has he ever carried the ball properly? To be fair he was a cheerleader for God sakes, they’re there to cheer on the one’s that actually carry the ball not to do it themselves. What? You didn’t think I was going to get a shot in at him too? I’m not on national TV.
The thing is, a lot of people think like Kanye and are feeling the way his statements say he feels, not just the regular population but a lot of our black leaders as well. There’s always someone who wants to spin a situation to make it fit a pro-black agenda or pro-their-view agenda and that’s fine if that’s your cup of tea but please wait until the water in New Orleans is drinkable before you brew your pot.