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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

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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