If you missed Kanye West’s emotional, unscripted tirade (and co-presenter Mike Myers’ bewildered reaction) during NBC’s Concert for Hurricane Relief, you can catch the video here.
But whether or not you agree with the outspoken rapper’s opinion that ”George Bush doesn’t care about black people” — a comment that was edited out of NBC’s West Coast and Mountain time zone telecasts, and which the network has since noted were off-script and did not reflect its own views — at least he turned a critical eye on himself, too.
West noted that he’d be a hypocrite for complaining about the relief efforts because he had initially turned away from Hurricane Katrina coverage on TV, deeming it too hard to watch. ”I’ve even been shopping before even giving a donation,” West added, ”and so now I’m calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give.”
The rest of the telecast proceeded without controversy, and included performances by musicians with Louisiana and Mississippi ties such as Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr., Aaron Neville, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill.
Much like the NBC telethon, the Labor Day weekend brought with it a mix of help, hope, and controversy in terms of entertainment-industry response to Katrina. Macy Gray flew to Houston to help with some hands-on work with displaced Louisiana residents at the Astrodome, while Celine Dion, Jay-Z, and Diddy made big-money pledges to the relief efforts. R&B legend Fats Domino, who rode out Katrina in New Orleans including a two-day stint at the Superdome, crashed at LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell’s Baton Rouge apartment. Pierce Brosnan, meanwhile, joined West in criticizing ”this man called President Bush,” arguing that he ”has a lot to answer for.”
Finally, cable and network coverage of Katrina and its aftermath got a thumbs-up from New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who pleaded on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News show that news organizations stick with the story for the long haul, instead of returning to a celebrity-news focus. And TV Barn brings up a good point from Scott Fybush, editor of NorthEast Radio Watch: Why are news channels hiding their excellent Katrina footage with massive, redundant banners that say ”Breaking News” or ”Graphic Images”?
What do you think of this weekend’s Katrina coverage? And of the response from celebrities such as West, Brosnan, and Gray?