More than a week after his emotional off-script statement at a September 2 Hurricane Katrina telethon — comments capped by the declaration “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” — Kanye West explained the move on Saturday night. “I wasn’t trying to particularly dis anybody like that,” he said during a taping of MTV2’s $2 Bill Concert Series.
West, who characterized the last two weeks as “crazy,” told the audience assembled at Hollywood’s Henry Ford Theatre that he wasn’t interested in reading the scripted words that scrolled across the teleprompter during NBC’s “A Concert for Hurricane Relief” telethon, and instead spoke from the heart (see “Jay-Z, Diddy, Others Reach Out To Disaster Victims; Kanye West Attacks Bush During Telethon” ). West added that he remains undaunted by any subsequent public backlash that followed in the wake of his remarks, and said he stands by his critique.
“People are like, ’Yo, aren’t you scared that something’s going to happen to you?’ I was like, ’I can think of a lot worse things that could happen to me, like how about not eating for five days? Or how about not knowing where my f—ing family is?’ Everybody’s always concerned about theyself.”
West expressed that Americans largely close their eyes to the problem of poverty, including politicians.
“I just feel like America’s always been pushing the [impoverished] under the counter, trying to act like it’s not really there,” he said. “And what happens if you’re cleaning the kitchen and you’re always dusting something under the counter? If you spill something, it’s going come up and be in your f—ing face.”
West urged the audience to get more involved in the ongoing relief efforts that are now underway in the region devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
“I can’t even imagine being in that situation,” the rapper said. “It’s horrible, and we just need to come together [to] do what we can.”
In addition, West said that last week’s news that his latest release, Late Registration, sold more than 860,000 copies to debut as Billboard’s #1 selling album (see “Kanye West’s Late Registration Tops Albums Chart — By A Mile” ), was something of a “bittersweet” achievement, considering current events.
The concert, which also featured guests including Paul Wall and Common (see “Common’s Making His Own Mini-Movie For ’Testify’ “ ), will air Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on MTV2.
To find out what you can do to help provide relief to victims of Katrina, head to think MTV’s hurricane relief page.