We’ll be talking more about this fo sho. Yet, I thought it might be interesting to look back at a turning point in the conversation. Mike Myers and Kanye West were speaking on a telethon for Katrina aid. Yet while Myers sticks to his prepared speech, Kanye spoke from the heart. It was all reaction, all emotion and it summed up all the grief, rage and powerlessness African-Americans were feeling watching as the U.S. Government failed for 5 days to provide meaningful assistance to American citizens needing rescue, food, water, shelter and medical help. Oh and managed a dig at the racist press coverage painting black survivors as criminals, thugs and low-lifes. Yeah, it was incoherent. But when West said, George Bush does not care about black people — he said out loud what we were all thinking. It shouldn’t have been a surprise — hip hop has always been about telling truth to power like Grandmaster Flash and The Message.

Kanye took a lot of heat for what he said, but a brother was right on. The look on Mike Myers’ face said it all — it was scary and it was real.

Here’s Kanye talking a couple years after on those Katrina comments:
“I have a hard time believing that George Bush cares about anyone.” Kanye said. “So sidebar: Black people also, you know?”

Even under withering criticism, the Bush administration failed to act as a partner for Gulf Coast recovery. Obama spoke today on Katrina relief and there’s a lot of hope that change gon’ come for NOLA real soon. A lot has changed since then and as a people, we are feeling less powerless than a few years ago. Here at JJP, we worked then and are still working now to help communities rebuild. I think Obama cares about Black people and all Americans. Now we need his administration to demonstrate that caring. The Gulf Coast is an important part of our national economy and while it remains in distress, so does the rest of the U.S., yo…

If you’d like to help those who still need help down there, check out

Hurricane Katrina Relief
Make It Right Foundation (Brad Pitt’s group helping to rebuild the 9th Ward)
Habitat for Humanity Gulf Recovery

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