By now, everyone with access to any form of media has heard the now-famous line spoken by Kanye West: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
During a nationally aired telethon, West spoke passionately about his views on the portrayal of black Hurricane Katrina victims and slow government relief efforts.
Although West did veer from the scripted comments prepared for him, NBC ran this risk by doing a live broadcast.
When the show was aired for the West Coast hours later, West’s comments were cut.
He was censored in a country that pretends to advocate freedom of speech.
In my opinion, the only reason the remarks were cut is because they were anti-Bush.
Perhaps another reason West’s comments caused such an uproar is that hip hop is such an influential cultural phenomenon.
Maybe if he had uttered that line in a song and rhymed it with something there would be no problem.
Outspoken celebrities have always voiced their opinions on national issues. Michael Moore’s anti-Bush documentary, “Fahrenheit 9/11” was both popular and controversial, and many stars were vocal during the 2004 elections.
For one reason or another people care about what stars think. This is what makes them stars; they draw an audience.
We turn on “How I’m Living” to hear about superficial things: What’s in Lil’ Jon’s refrigerator, how many cars he has and what size rims are on them, not his views on rising gas prices.
Today’s culture is marked by an insatiable appetite for celebrity news. I attribute this to a downhill trend in journalism.
“Reporters” these days are nothing more than magicians, fabricating news where there is none. The war in Iraq? That’s news. What Diddy thinks about the war in Iraq? Definitely NOT news.
I do not have a problem with entertainers speaking up about national issues. But I certainly don’t believe their occupation elevates their opinions to front-page news.
Too often, intelligent people who are working for change are drowned out by celebrities offering nothing but lip service.
While I agree with the things Kanye West said, there is a time and place for everything. West’s remarks might have defeated this purpose by upsetting viewers who would have otherwise helped.
And I also have a problem with the hypocrisy of stars who have open mouths and closed wallets.
West said he had to talk with his business manager about the amount of money he could give. Whose consultation did he seek when purchasing the diamond-drenched chains and watches he sports?
Whether you believe stars should sing and dance or rant and rave, the fact is, your voice is just as important.
“Stars” are really just people like you and I – the only difference is someone decided to televise them, and we decided to watch.
Driadonna Roland is a sophomore publc relations student from Detroit, MI. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org