Kanye Causes Controversy

Wish I Tivo’d this. AP reports:

It began, fittingly enough, with jazz from New Orleans natives Harry Connick Jr. and Wynton Marsalis.

But “A Concert for Hurricane Relief,” a heartfelt and dignified benefit aired on NBC and other networks Friday night, took an unexpected turn thanks to the outspoken rapper Kanye West. Appearing two-thirds through the program, he claimed “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” and said America is set up “to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible.”

The show, simulcast from New York on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and Pax, was aired live to the East Coast, enabling the Grammy-winning rapper’s outburst to go out uncensored.

Comedian Mike Myers was paired with West for a 90-second segment that began with Myers speaking of Katrina’s devastation. Then, to Myers’ evident surprise, West began a rant by saying, “I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family, it says they’re looting. See a white family, it says they’re looking for food.”

While allowing that “the Red Cross is doing everything they can,” West ? who delivered an emotional outburst at the American Music Awards after he was snubbed for an award ? declared that government authorities are intentionally dragging their feet on aid to the Gulf Coast. Without getting specific, he added, “They’ve given them permission to go down and shoot us.”

After he stated, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people. Please call ?” the camera cut away to comedian Chris Tucker.

Concluding the hour a few minutes later, (host Matt) Lauer noted that “emotions in this country right now are running very high. Sometimes that emotion is translated into inspiration, sometimes into criticism. We’ve heard some of that tonight. But it’s still part of the American way of life.”

Then the entire ensemble performed “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Hear that NBC? There is no news unless it is Kanye news. Anyone see it live? It was cut out of the west coast airing.

UPDATE: Stream the whole thing here.

Tags: Kanye West