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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 September 2005, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Rap star attacks Bush at benefit
Kanye West
Kanye West's comments were cut from a recorded version of the show
Hip-hop star Kanye West criticised President Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina at a televised benefit concert in New York on Friday.

The show, which raised funds for relief efforts, featured Leonardo DiCaprio, Richard Gere, Glenn Close, Harry Connick Jr and Wynton Marsalis.

But West told the audience: "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

The comment went out live on the US east coast, but was cut from a taped version seen on the west coast.

West also claimed the US was not set up "to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible".

He appeared alongside comedian Mike Myers for a 90-second segment which began with Myers speaking of the devastation Katrina has caused to southern states of the US.

But to Myers' surprise, West departed from his script and said: "I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family, it says they're looting. See a white family, it says they're looking for food."

Cut off

He conceded "the Red Cross is doing everything they can", but said authorities were deliberately holding up getting aid to the Gulf coast.

It would be most unfortunate if the efforts of the artists are overshadowed by one person's opinion
NBC statement
West was cut off mid-speech after he criticised Mr Bush, and the cameras switched to comedian Chris Tucker.

There has been widespread criticism of the US government's response to the storm, which struck on Monday. The scale of the casualties is not yet known, but tens of thousands of people remain in the devastated city of New Orleans while 75,000 people have been forced to take shelter in neighbouring Texas.

NBC, which broadcast the event, said "it would be most unfortunate if the efforts of the artists and the generosity of millions of Americans are overshadowed by one person's opinion".

Country star Tim McGraw, who is from Louisiana, sang two songs and said: "I know the citizens that weren't affected by this are gonna stand up and do good things for people."

Aaron Neville - who, like Connick Jr and Marsalis, is from New Orleans - performed Randy Newman's Louisiana 1927 with the chorus "they're trying to wash us away, they're trying to wash us away".

Actresses Hilary Swank and Lindsay Lohan also took part in the concert, while New York governor George Pataki presented the Red Cross with a cheque for $2.5 million (1.3m) with a promise of further assistance.


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