West claimed that interviewer Matt Lauer had “tried to force my answers,” but the newly released clips show West getting increasingly testy while Lauer is persistent in his questioning, but not unfair.
The interview addressed George Bush’s statement that the rapper’s post-Hurricane Katrina comment that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” was the low point of his presidency.
In the footage aired Thursday, West’s first response is measured. “[Bush’s] explanation, I completely agree with and empathize with,” he says. “And I felt that the entire time I was being hailed as a hero [for the statement] … you know in your heart that, in a moment of emotion, to peg someone as a racist … it’s just not right.”
But West gets downright pissy as the interview progresses, first when Lauer plays video of Bush commenting on his Katrina statements — “Yo, I didn’t need you guys to show me the tape in order to prompt my emotions” — and later when video of his interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards plays while he tries to answer to a question about it.
“Yo, how am I supposed to talk if you’re gonna run this thing in the middle?” After Lauer asks for the audio to be turned down, West says, “Please don’t let that happen. It’s like ridiculous.”
After the interview segments aired, Lauer said that playing video footage “is something we do every day when a guest is talking about an incident, there was nothing unusual about it.” He then says they look forward to welcoming West back to the show for a performance on November 26.