By Alvin Blanco
Kanye West has apologized, again.
In an interview with Matt Lauer of the “Today” show, West expressed remorse for his comment in 2005, saying “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during a Hurricane Katrina telethon. Last week during his own Lauer interview, Bush began the controversy by calling the comment “one of the most disgusting moments in my presidency,” which he echoed in his new book “Decision Points.”
West told Lauer he didn’t have the grounds to call Bush a racist and that he may not have used the best words to express his frustration with the government’s response to New Orleans’ devastation. In response, Bush forgave West for his previous remarks.
“I’m not a hater. I didn’t hate Kanye West,” the former president told Lauer. “But I was talking about an environment in which people were willing to say things that hurt. Nobody wants to be called a racist if in your heart you believe in equality of races.”
In the hip-hop world, some support West’s change of heart.
“I think it’s pretty cool that George W. Bush accepted Kanye’s apology,” said Grouchy Greg Watkins, co-founder of AllHipHop. “It’s great to see how Kanye West has humbled himself over the past year or so. Both Bush and Kanye have shown us how far hip-hop has come—for Kanye’s words to hurt him in the first place and for Bush using our slang!”
Others believe West didn’t say anything that warranted an apology.
“It’s disappointing Kanye West felt the need to apologize for saying how he felt at the time,” said journalist Jozen Cummings. “He offended one man whose incompetence offended an entire group of people. No apology from West was necessary, but a lot of black people are still waiting on one from Bush.”
West took to Twitter on Tuesday to vent his disdain for his interview with Lauer, saying that some of his answers were forced.
“He played clips of Bush and asked me to look at his face while I was trying to talk to him,” wrote Kanye, describing his interview experience.
It should be noted that Bush began his “Decision” publicity run after the mid-term elections, which some might argue, wouldn’t have helped the GOP win so many victories over the Democrats. Meanwhile, West is also on a promo tour for his new album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, due in stores November 22.
Both gentlemen have a knack for sparking controversy that some say results in self-promotion.
“The Kanye/Bush ‘Come To Jesus’ moment is the equivalent of two rappers making up before they drop new projects,” said Rashaun Hall, editor of MSN’s Groove blog. “Kanye has his album coming and President Bush has a new book so it only seems right that they rehash this old story to garner more attention for themselves.”
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but George Bush is winning,” added Kazeem Famuyide, online editor of The Source. ” People to feel sorry for him, he gets an apology from Kanye West and promotes his book. The same reason I love Kanye’s work is why I shake my head at him; he tries really hard. I applaud that.”
“He gives everything his all and that is more than I can say for a lot of artists,” continued Famuyide. “However, he ends up looking like he’s pandering to people that shouldn’t matter to him.”
Regardless of their intentions, or their priorities, Bush and West have made up. So what now?
“I suspect Bush was genuinely hurt by Kanye’s statement about him not caring about black people,” reasoned writer and author Dream Hampton, who collaborated with Jay-Z on his upcoming “Decoded” book. “His White House had more blacks in key positions than Clinton. What Kanye should’ve said, as the Louisiana governor was calling thirsty, dying mothers and fathers looters, is Bush doesn’t care about poor people. Katrina was handled criminally, that doesn’t change because Kanye and Bush hug it out.”
What do you think of Kanye West and George Bush’s … situation? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!