Why Kanye West should not have apologized to George W. Bush on the 'Today' show
Kanye West, why did you have to go on "Today" and tell George W. Bush that you're sorry (or at least somewhat regretful) for saying -- during the height of the Hurricane Katrina crisis -- that he didn't care about black people?
As your Twitter account clearly indicates, taping the interview has caused you an immense amount of distress. And as demonstrated by the use of your pre-recorded comments during this morning's "Today" interview with Bush, your words only served as a balm for the former president, who said they were "appreciated" and that his faith allows him to forgive you. Racial tensions: They're all solved now that the West/Bush conflict has been put to rest.
Kanye, in addition to making some killer records, you have said and done some mega-ridiculous things over the years. But the Hurricane Katrina episode? That's actually the one thing that, in my opinion, you should never have to apologize for.
It's not cool to call someone a racist. And, for the record, I don't think George W. Bush is a racist.
But that's also -- as you know better than anyone, Kanye -- not what you said during that NBC telethon that aired on Sept. 2, 2005. What you said was: "George W. Bush doesn't care about black people," a statement that clearly scared the crap out of Mike Myers, upset the then-president and started a whole conversation -- one we're still having -- about whether that was an appropriate statement to make.
As an overall commentary on Bush's character, the sentence you uttered may not be true. But at the time -- in the midst of a week when the entire country watched as residents of a majority African American city died while some key government officials twiddled their thumbs when they weren't patting each other on the back -- it felt true. A lot of people had the exact same thought. But the only person who had the guts and, more important, the total lack of a filter that allowed him to say it? Well, that was you, Kanye.
So I don't think you should regret it or have to engage in any sort of media-orchestrated mea culpa over the whole episode just to give "Today" another opportunity to milk their Bush interview exclusive. I suspect that's what you were trying to convey in your extensive Twitter rants, except that I, like so many, got kinda lost when you brought Michael Jackson into your anti-Matt Lauer argument.
The bottom line, really, is that none of us should be talking about whether George W. Bush got his feelings hurt by something you said more than five years ago. Really, what we should be talking about is how the people of New Orleans are doing now and how our government would respond differently if a crisis of that magnitude reared its devastating head again, as it undoubtedly will.
But those are harder, more nuanced conversations to embark upon, ones that don't fit as tidily into TV interviews or Twitter feeds -- or, frankly, into entertainment blogs like this one.
So in lieu of that, I'll just close by saying, Kanye, it's always wise to consider your words before you speak. Taylor Swift, in her infinite wisdom, explained this pretty clearly in that song she sang about you at the VMAs. But in the Katrina case, don't apologize. You don't have to. Because saying something controversial that captured how a heartbreaking, horrible moment in this country's history genuinely felt? That means never having to say you're sorry.
| November 10, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
Categories: Celebrities, TV | Tags: Kanye West
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