It’s been five years of empty rhetoric and promises since Katrina, and our recent experience with the latest man-made disaster, courtesy of our friends at BP and Minerals Management, seems to be delivering more of the same. At least after Katrina, the world seemed to be focused on helping, which included “A Concert for Hurricane Relief.”
If you didn’t know who Kanye West was before “A Concert for Hurricane Relief,” and most people didn’t, you knew who he was afterwards. It was during this telethon that West blurted out that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” If nothing else, that statement got the conversation moving about why was the government response was so slow. Suddenly West became a political figure. And although the veracity of his statement has not necessarily been disproven, the real reason the government couldn’t react probably had more to do with our misguided efforts in “the war on terror,” “the war on drugs,” “the war on (fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-politically-motivated-issue-will-get-you-reelected-and-bring-in-money to-your-reelection-campaign-fund).” It wasn’t that Bush didn’t care about black people, its that the government doesn’t care about any people.
The government, which is continually being extolled by the right-wing to be run more like a business, is increasingly focused on the bottom-line, which is what businesses do. And more so than ever before, or wars on this and that, are actually run by private businesses, with profits going to private individuals, at a cost unknown to the US government! Now, with the BP debacle and the fact that they were “in charge” of the clean-up, we can see that big business and government coexist hand-in-hand to maximize profit at the expense of people.
Although there has been a little here and there from musicians, actors, and srtists, about the BP spill, obviously it has garnered the attention that Katrina did. After all, it was easy to point the blame after Katrina. Bush may not care about black people, but Kanye West like to support the international petro cartels, driving an $800,000 car and cracking up a slightly less expensive one.
So in the midst of another disaster that is affecting the lives of blacks and whites along the Gulf Coast, where is Kanye West to speak out against government and business injustice and incompetence?
He’s busy making records with Justin Bieber. However, what is the message of this song by the spokesperson for the oppressed? To quote another rap group that held true to their message, Public Enemy:
You singers are spineless
As you sing your senseless songs to the mindless
Your general subject love is minimal
Its sex for profit
So in the nation’s time of need, Kanye has aligned himself with the government and BP, watching out for his bottom line. Maybe it's hammer time?