Today in Hip Hop History: September 2, 2005
It was just two days after the official dissipation of Hurricane Katrina. NBC Universal Television Group sponsored an hour-long, celebrity-starring benefit concert, titled “A Concert for Hurricane Relief”, on live television to raise money and awareness about relief for the tragic disaster.
The hurricane had completely destroyed the city of New Orleans, Louisiana on August 29th, flooding essentially the entire city, then later causing major damage in the state of Mississippi. Almost 2000 fatalities were reported. The Category 3 hurricane caused an estimated $108 Billion worth of damage.
Kanye West, alongside actor and comedian Mike Myers, presented about the horrifying disaster to a live television set, only to have the rapper deviate from his prepared script. He described the post-hurricane efforts towards the poverty-stricken and destroyed black communities as less than adequate, citing the negative portrayal of blacks in the media. Kanye’s dialogue was in response to reported slow reactionary efforts by The Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government resources to areas with significant black communities.
After Mike’s second monologue, Kanye decided to voice his true feelings on the matter of inadaquate aid, exclaiming
George Bush doesn’t care about black people!
Immediately, his mic was silenced and the cameras panned off onto Chris Tucker. But, not before the audience could see the facial reaction of Mike Myers and subsequent awkward silence before Chris began talking.
Despite Kanye’s surprisingly hilarious (and arguably warranted) interjection, the concert itself generated over $50 Million in aid effort, and was watch by an estimate 8.5 million viewers.
In 2010, George W. Bush finally commented on the statement from 2005, explaining in an interview “I resent it; it’s not true, and it’s one of the most disgusting moments of my presidency.”
Kaney then returned to NBC one month later on SNL ’s 31st season premiere. He performed the singles “Gold Digger”, “Heard ‘Em Say” and “Touch the Sky” from his recently released Late Registration album. Mike Myers also appeared in that episode in a hilarious skit spoofing the rapper’s famous utterance.