An excerpt from a song I had not heard before the benefit concert tonight:
Kanye West "Jesus Walks"
To the hustlas, killas, murderas, drug dealas even tha strippers jesus walks with them
To the victims of Welfare for we living in hell here, hell yeah, jesus walks with them
Now hear ye hear ye want to see Thee more clearly
I know He hear me when my feet get weary
Cuz we're the almost nearly extinct
We rappers is role models,
we rap we don't think
I ain't here to argue about his facial features
Or here to convert atheists into believers
I'm just trying to say the way school need teachers
The way Kathy Lee needed Regis, that's the way I need Jesus
So here go my single dawg radio needs this
They say you can rap-about-anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes
But if I talk about God my record won't get played, Huh?
Well if this take away from my spins
Which will probably take away from my ends
and i hope it take away from my sins
and bring the day that I dream aboutNext time I'm in the club everybody screamin out(Jesus Walks)
God show me the way because the devil's tryna break me down(Jesus Walks)
The only thing that I pray is that my feet don't fail me now
Last week Kanye was censored for criticizing President Bush on national TV saying,I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, "They're looting." You see a white family, it says, "They're looking for food." And, you know, it's been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black. And even for me to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite because I've tried to turn away from the TV because it's too hard to watch. I've even been shopping before even giving a donation, so now I'm calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give, and just to imagine if I was down there, and those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help -- with the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible. I mean, the Red Cross is doing everything they can. We already realize a lot of people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way -- and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us!
. . .George Bush doesn't care about black people!
Kanye speaks and sings with righteous anger. He was censored for his statements. I think his voice should be heard. Now is the time for what may seem irrational. Now is the time to empty our closets filled with piles of stored emotion. Let it out so we can all take a good look at it and move on. If we continue to censor the voices that speak for the victims the suffering will not cease. The systems will not change.
On a completely different note:
NPR ran a story today on All things considered
about the efficiency of Wal Mart's response to the storm. This was a statement made by Phil Capitano mayor of Kenner, La."FEMA couldn't get here. Red Cross couldn't get here. Homeland security couldn't get here. The only ones who could get here were the Wal Mart corporation. We were, we are extremely appreciateive and extremely grateful."
The story goes on to describe the efficiency of Wal Mart's response. Apparently Wal Mart prepares yearly for the hurricane season by stocking trailers with bottled water throughout many of their distribution centers inthe gulf and east coast regions. So the company was ready and moblized before the storm hit so that their trucks could arrive as soon as safely possible. During the interview, mayor Capitano goes on to suggest that our government organizations and relief organizations ought to meet with officials from Wal Mart to learn about distribution and logistics.
During what has been called the most anticipated natural disaster in American history it was not the myriad of local, state, and federal agencies that responded efficiently and quickly to the storm. It was Wal Mart. The multi-national corporation that is often criticized (by me and many others) for its poor treatment of employees and its devastating effects on local economies and small businesses. Well done.