Friday, September 02, 2005

Somebody Wire His Mouth Shut

Kanye West just went off the rails on the NBC telethon:

I hate the way they portray us in the meia. When 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 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 teacher... 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 ammount 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... with the setup the way America is set up to help the uh... uh the poor, the black people, the uh... the less well-off as slow as possible. I mean this is... The Red Cross is doing everything they can. We... we already realize a lot of the people that could help are at war right now fighting another way, and they... they... they've given them permission to go down and shoot us.
Then, after standing like a deer in the headlights through all this, only occasionally gulping, Mike Meyers tries to get back on script. Anything else to add Mr. West?
George Bush doesn't care about black people.
For the first time, Meyers turns to look at West, then after a beat, starts to give the number to call to donate when the NBC editors cut to the voice of sanity: Chris Tucker.

Now, I understand that the prattle these presenters have to say on the telethons are usually rather bland. And I understand that emotions are running high and that West was speaking from his heart. And there's arguably some truth in what he said. But this was not the forum. A fundraising effort is not the place to alienate at least half the country. You'd think he'd have learned this after doing the same thing at the Live 8 concert, going off on his conspiracy theories. Or that we'd have learned.

Kanye West does not belong on live fundraisers.


Blogger tomorrowsfool said...

I have the video on my site ( along with the transcript if you are interested

September 02, 2005 7:20 PM  
Blogger The Pop Culture Petri Dish said...


September 02, 2005 7:27 PM  
Blogger tomorrowsfool said...


September 02, 2005 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black People loot, white people borrow, called on your ass a few days ago

September 03, 2005 2:55 AM  
Blogger The Pop Culture Petri Dish said...


I'm not sure exactly who or what you're referring to when you say "called on your ass"...

Yes, I knew precisely what West was talking about when he referenced the racist double standard. I'd seen the same pictures as you.

In my post, I never said that I disagreed with what he said or that I disagreed with him speaking out. But I wholeheartedly disagree with when and where he said it. A fundraising telethon was not the place. He violated the spirit of unity that the event was intended to foster. If he caused even one person to change the channel or turned them off from giving their money to the Red Cross (which I'm fairly certain he must have done), then he did a deplorable disservice to the very people he was trying to help.

I would have no problem with him saying any of the things he said in an interview, at his own concert, in a song or anywhere else. I don't advocate the suppression of free speech, nor do I advocate the homogeonization of television in general. But a telethon like this is something different. It's purpose is to appeal to as wide an audience as possible -- people of all races and political affiliations, people who support the war in Iraq and people who don't, people who approve of our president and people who don't -- and nudge them to give as much as they can.

A lot of people gave their time and money to make that telethon happen. NBC gave up valuable advertising time that ammounts to far more than West has donated. When he used their airtime to go off script to make divisive statements that tainted the whole affair (if you don't believe that, try to find a story about the telethon that doesn't focus on his controversial comments), he violated their trust and the trust of everyone else associated with the event.

Maybe this shouldn't matter, but I might be more sympathetic to his "being the lone voice of truth" if he actually were the only voice being given a platform. However, for the past few days, the news networks have given plenty of time to people making the exact same points as him. The mainstream media hasn't been suppressing that point of view... if anything, they've been espousing it. They've been grilling government officials vigorously, demanding they do more. And the issue of race has been discussed more frankly and on a larger scale than I would've ever imagined. The media is not shying away from the uncomfortable reality of the racial overtones of this tragedy and the response to it. I've seen Rev. Al Sharpton on multiple news programs, saying everything West said. I've seen the victims in New Orleans saying the same things. They have a voice. They didn't need West to be that voice during a telethon. They needed West to do his part to ingratiate himself and beg for money from all Americans.

Sorry to go off on such a rant. I know there are a lot of sensitive issues at play here and emotions are running high. But ultimately, my post is not about the content of those issues, only the delivery.

September 03, 2005 6:03 AM  
Blogger MPH said...

These people harbor a disease of mysticism - this disease blinds them with a hatred that is nearly equivalent to that which foments inside the mind of a radical islamist. The need to blame something, anything, for their insecurities and self-loathing in the face of something they can not explain trumps all other desires.

Emboldened by a mainstream media that has subtly hinted that racism is the root cause of this catastrophe, it is hardly surprising in an era where voices of all sorts have the loud microphone of new media to trumpet their ideas, that the crazies being heard. Those who are guided by reason, now more than ever need to step up to match and pound down the voices of the desperate, though still dangerous, mystical anti-american Left.

September 03, 2005 10:00 AM  
Anonymous mary said...

Thank god for live tv. Good job kanye

September 03, 2005 10:25 AM  
Blogger ace said...

SHut the f*ck up black america, I'm sick of your bitchin. Stop with the oppressed bs and stop worrying about what other people think and say about you. Quit thinking negative about yourself and you won't be shat on by the world.

September 05, 2005 5:27 PM  
Blogger The Pop Culture Petri Dish said...

I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that the reader comments on this blog in no way reflect the opinions of The Pop Culture Petri Dish (except for the ones posted by me). However, I'm not about to censor comments I find offensive (unless they're SPAM). They do reflect the opinions of real people and I believe it is important to be aware of as many viewpoints as possible. Feel free to disagree... with anything.

September 05, 2005 11:14 PM  
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