Kanye West Blasts Bush

Grammy-winning rapper says president "doesn't care about black people"

September 6, 2005 12:00 AM ET

Kanye West unleashed an anti-Bush tirade at NBC's A Concert for Hurricane Relief Friday, ignoring the teleprompter and proclaiming, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

The Grammy-winning rapper said, "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."

West did acknowledge the efforts put forth by the American Red Cross but declared that government authorities are purposefully dragging their feet on aiding the ravaged Gulf Coast. "They've given them permission to go down and shoot us," West said without specifics. The camera cut away to comedian Chris Tucker shortly thereafter.

The special, hosted by Today show's Matt Lauer, also featured performances by Lousiana natives Tim McGraw, Aaron Neville and Harry Connick, Jr., as well as Mississippi native Faith Hill. Singer-actress Lindsay Lohan was among the featured speakers, which included Hilary Swank, Glenn Close, Richard Gere, Eric LaSalle, Leonardo DiCaprio and John Goodman.

West will take part in "ReAct Now: Music and Relief," a concert to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina, on September 10th on MTV, VH1 and CMT. The relief concert will be staged simultaneously in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville and Atlanta, and will feature a mixture of taped and live performances, as well as messages from more than thirty artists. Viewers will be encouraged to phone in donations to the Red Cross.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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