Rap icon Jay-Z has come to the defense of Kanye West days after former U.S. President George W. Bush singled out being publicly condemned by the rapper as one of the lowest points in his eight-year office term.
In addition to questioning Bush, Jay said West merely spoke his mind during the 2005 televised Hurricane Katrina telethon where West slammed Bush’s relief efforts.
Bush’s admission that West’s Hurricane Katrina rant was the low point of his presidency struck Jay-Z as odd. “First, I find it strange, like everyone else should, that one of his lowest points was somebody talking about him,” Jay-Z said of Kanye’s infamous “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” comment. “He’s the president. People should insult him a lot. That’s part of the job description.” He went on to reiterate an excerpt from “Decoded” in which he talks about how the mishandling of the rescue/relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina affected him. “It didn’t feel like a natural disaster; it felt like it was happening directly to blacks, and immediately those images of people in suits getting beaten, sprayed with hoses, beaten on the bridge at Selma, all these emotions were going on inside of us,” Jay said. “Kanye really spoke what everyone else felt.” (MTV)
Last week, Bush said he believed West slandered his image following New Orleans’ disaster.
“He called me a racist,” Bush tells reporter Matt Lauer. “And I didn’t appreciate it then. I don’t appreciate it now. It’s one thing to say, ‘I don’t appreciate the way he’s handled his business.’ It’s another thing to say, ‘This man’s a racist.’ I resent it, it’s not true.” (“Matt Lauer Reports”)
Following Bush’s remarks, West addressed the ex-president and sympathized with him.
“Well I can definitely understand the way he feels to be accused of being a racist in any way because the same thing happened to me [with Taylor Swift], you know, where I got accused of being racist, and with both situations it was basically a lack of compassion that America saw,” he said in an interview. “With him it was a lack of compassion not rushing, you know, taking his time to rush down to New Orleans. With me, it was a lack of compassion in cutting someone off in their moment, but none the less I feel we’re all quick to pull the race card [in America]. And now I’m more open, and the poetic justice that I feel to go through the same thing that he went [through], and now I really more connect with him on a humanitarian level … the next morning when he felt that, I felt the same thing.” (XXL Mag)
Bush later accepted West’s apology and said the rapper was not the only individual who questioned his leadership while in office.
“I appreciate that,” Bush said of the apology. “It wasn’t just Kanye West who was talking like that during Katrina, I cited him as an example, I cited others as an example as well. You know, I appreciate that.” (E! Online)
Check out Kanye West speaking on George W. Bush below: