September 8, 2005

Jay-Z backs Kanye West’s telethon outburst

By Gail Mitchell

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Rap mogul Jay-Z is standing
behind Kanye West, who went off-script to declare that "George
Bush doesn't care about black people" during his appearance in
last Friday's NBC telethon for Hurricane Katrina victims.

"I'm backing Kanye 100%," Jay-Z told Billboard by phone
from London. "This is America. You should be able to say what
you want to say. We have freedom of speech."

Jay-Z is also West's boss in his capacity as president/CEO
of Def Jam Recordings. West's new album, "Late Registration,"
opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Wednesday.

During his Friday appearance, West added that America was
set up "to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off
as slow as possible."

Jay-Z said he shared some of West's views. "It's really
numbing," he said. "You can't believe it's happening in
America. You wonder, what's going on? Why were people so slow
to react? I don't understand it."

Although Jay-Z said he hasn't "spoken to anyone about doing
a concert event" to benefit Katrina victims, he says he wants
to speak with Sean "Diddy" Combs about starting a fund
exclusively to help blacks in times of crisis. "Just in case
anything like this happens in the future, we can do what the
elder Bush and (former President Bill) Clinton are doing for
our people specifically."