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Jay-Z Says Kanye West's Bush Comment Was 'Honest Emotion'

On his website, Russell Simmons also defends Kanye

November 15, 2010 2:49 PM ET

Jay-Z had a lot to say in defense of Kanye West on Howard Stern's radio show Monday morning.

Addressing West's 2005 comment that "George Bush doesn't care about black people" — which flared up all over again as the subject of West's controversial appearance on Today last week — Jay said, "It was bad timing, but it was absolutely an honest emotion. We all felt like that. We didn't feel like Katrina was a natural disaster; we felt like it was an attack on black people. All you saw was black people on the roof with 'help' signs. ... White people felt like that."

Watch: Kanye West's Surprise Visit to Rolling Stone

Read: Rolling Stone's Five-Star Review of Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

West found another defender in Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, who wrote a long open letter to West on his Global Grind website Friday in which he heaps praise upon the MC but says Kanye didn't need to apologize to Bush.

Photos: Jay-Z and Eminem's NYC Blowout With Kanye West, Chris Martin, Drake and Nicki Minaj

After effusively praising Kanye's "brilliance" and "passion," Simmons continues, "When you spoke about President Bush during the Katrina telethon, it was not the particulars of your words that mattered, it was the essence of a feeling of the insensitivity towards our communities that many of us have felt for far too long... There is no need to apologize, Kanye. You spoke from your heart and that is all we will ever ask from you. Don't be afraid of the press, as your art is your blueprint, thanks to Jay-Z, your big brother, we will always carry our destiny in our own hands. ... And we will always have your back."

Jay-Z Defends Kanye West On 'Howard Stern Show' [MTV News]

Dear Kanye... An Open Letter By Russell Simmons [Global Grind]

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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