Kanye West on Hurricane Katrina & G.W. Bush

In 2005 after the tragic natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans American television covered the story for weeks.  News cameras were able to reach the stranded populations at a time when the President and food aid was not.  In response to the atrocities that manifested in the tragedy the rapper Kanye West was able to voice his opinion about the matter in primetime television.   Kanye West points to the issue that the destruction in New Orleans is not a short term fix, that it takes time and dedication. Though at times inarticulate because of the obvious disgust over the situation, the point was clear when Mr. West stated with his last words stated on live television the infamous line, “George Bush Doesn’t Care about Black People”.



5 comments so far

  1. heeryp on

    I had actually never seen this clip before Siavash posted it and was very intrigued, but not surprised about it. Anyone who has listened to Kanye West’s music knows that he is a very emotional artist and does not care for the way George Bush handled the Katrina situation or the way he treated African Americans in general.
    2 things really surprised me about this video. 1st I am shocked that it wasn’t on camera delay because there have been so many incidents with censoring issues. 2nd, as $iavash pointed out, West is very distraught and his address is almost a huge run-on sentence. He makes some great points about comparing black people to white people and how they are portrayed on camera. However, the video seems almost amateur because all 3 of the men speaking stumble over their words and seem rushed when they are speaking. I figured that a broadcast of this importance would be rehearsed and shot until it was nearly perfect because they want as many people as possible to make donations.
    Overall, I like Kanye as an artist but his emotions sometimes get the most of him and his message gets skewered because of statements like “George Bush does not like black people.” Had he not said that, I feel that people would have focused more on provided help and relief than debating why he would say such a thing on national tv.

    Pat Heery

  2. cejsmith20 on

    I agree with Pat, that Kanye has a penchant for going too far. Dr. S-D made remarks about overuse of pathos, trying too hard to stir emotion, and Kanye, most likely through his inability to control his own emotion, is a textbook example. The overuse of emotion can ruin a speech, and has potential to bring ethos into question. I personally (can only speak for myself) do not hold Kanye with any credibility because of his actions and the way he behaves himself. This begs another question, how far is too far for pathos, enough to damage ethos?

    – Cody Smith

  3. bfell on

    While the comments made by West I may not agree with, I think that your analysis of how television relates to public address is an accurate one that has a lot of significance in today’s world. I think that as more and more we see celebrities on television voicing their opinions on relevant and current matters. Because of their high status as celebrities and the emotions they evoke by targeting certain stories, they gain the attention and support of the public

  4. bfell on

    by Brendan Fell

  5. jswanson89 on

    This is a very interesting point. I like Cody’s comment about the overuse of pathos. Sometimes people just aren’t in the mood to be emotional. If you try to too hard to evoke it, your audience will just shut down. On the flipside, words like these can be extremely powerful, and in some instances, hurtful too. When George W. Bush was interviewed on national TV about his presidency, he was asked what the worst event during his presidency was. His response: When Kanye West told me I didn’t care about black people. Think about that. Words are powerful.

    -Jason Swanson

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