(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Kayne West: Voicing the Anguish

Tuesday, September 06, 2005
The fallout from Kayne West's unscripted statements during a Hurricane Relief telethon is just beginning, but NBC's decision to censor those words on the West Coast have found few sympathisers. Jim Derogatis in the Chicago Sun-Times, "A flood of words" argues that West's words are controversial more than anything due to their credibility:
But Friday, West's statements were much closer to those being made by critics of the Bush administration from across the racial and political spectra. And while he is being criticized by many on the right -- and will no doubt pay a price with some lost album sales and less radio play in more conservative markets -- he did Americans a service by putting the issue on the table for national debate.

Perhaps the most striking evidence of this came on Sunday during CNN's "Late Edition" when host Wolf Blitzer quoted West when asking Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson whether the response to Hurricane Katrina has been racist. Thompson, a Democrat, said the government had failed and "someone has to be held accountable." He cited the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

The most revealing part of the exchange, however, was the fact that Thompson mistook the comments from West as a statement from Princeton University professor, theologian, author and activist Dr. Cornel West. In one fell swoop, the rapper and college dropout has earned a place in the front ranks of this country's best-known and most respected African-American activists.
Robert Hilburn in the LA Times also calls NBC out on their attempt to censor West:
As we enter the celebrity telethon phase of the Katrina tragedy, NBC's "A Concert for Hurricane Relief" stands as a blueprint for its own kind of institutional failure. By censoring Grammy-winning rapper Kanye West's remarks critical of President Bush during its West Coast feed of the program Friday night, the network violated the most moving and essential moment in an otherwise sterile, self-serving corporate broadcast. "It would be most unfortunate," the network said in a statement defending its action, "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." Excuse me, but whose tragedy is this: NBC's or America's? NBC may have been nervous about West's comments, including the notion that America and its president are unresponsive to the needs of the poor. But you can be sure those remarks would have been cheered more than anything else in the program by the black parents and children still trapped in the New Orleans Convention Center and the Superdome if they had been able to hear them. The line NBC stopped us from hearing on the West Coast: "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
If you've not listened to Kayne West's provocative statement yet, listen here [MP3].

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At 9/06/2005 11:42:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for seeing his speech for what it was. He gave those people in NO a voice. He put topics up for discussion that most people arent willing to discuss in white male dominated media.

At 9/08/2005 01:33:00 am, Blogger Everyman said...

Kanye West is an idiot plain and simple. His statements were uncalled for and ignorant. Kanye wasn't trying raise an "issue to debate" he was merely taking an opportunity to keep his name in the headlines and be controversial. I loved how he said he was going to "call his business manager" to see how much he could contribute. Go on and call your business manager Kanye. We wouldn't want you to have to make a sacrifice now would we?

At 1/04/2006 08:28:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

KANYE is the best in the game and selfconfidence is not always ignorance.


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