The Today Show aired some of what has now become a fairly controversial interview between Matt Lauer and Kanye West on this morning’s broadcast. The reason there is controversy around the interview is that the less than articulate Mr. West threw a Twitter tantrum on Tuesday after he couldn’t handle the questions presented to him by Lauer and a clip of his MTV-award-show-usurping of Taylor Swift’s winning moment was played underneath their conversation.
By now most of the free world knows that West made a racially charged comment about former president George W. Bush in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and that Bush mentioned in his new book, “Decision Points,” that West’s comment was the lowest point of his two terms in office.
West wasn’t the first person to make disparaging remarks about the former president and he clearly won’t be the last but for some reason the remarks resonated enough with GW to be included in his book. This has made Kanye a target which naturally must have put him on the defensive.
However, when Matt Lauer asked him to comment on the situation he seemed to back pedal and said he could empathize with Bush’s position “with the idea of being regarded as a racist.” He also said of that situation that he found it “so funny to me that it could be a race thing,” even seemed a little emotional when he spoke as if somehow his feelings had been hurt in the process of being caught in the commentary crossfire.
Instead of standing by his earlier remark about the president, and both confidently and articulately citing evidence of why he made it, (i.e., Bush’s record in the White House), West sat there barely making eye contact and wasting the opportunity to speak up for the Black people he thought were being treated so badly back in 2005.
When Lauer asked if he regretted the remark West said, “I don’t wanna speak on the word regret and I think a lot of things that happen in America period are because of race.” While it is true that racism is very much a live and well in America, it is also true that when public figures make public statements that are racially charged, people have rather strong emotional reactions and sometimes those reactions are violent.
West also said that in moments where emotions are high, people often say things they later regret. While this is true of many young people and of immature “older” people, one has to wonder just how far West really thinks that lame excuse is going to carry.
West seemed to take affront with Lauer’s suggestion that he watch George Bush’s face during the former’s conversation saying, “I didn’t need you guys to show me the tape to like, prompt my emotions.” What he did seem to need prompting with was his apology.
“I would tell George Bush, in my moment of frustration, that I didn’t have the grounds to call him a racist,” he said, and when Matt Lauer added “You’re sorry,” West said he was but that “I wanna give it the exact perfect wording because everything I say gets taken and drawn into headlines.”
Seriously? West said he was there to “man up” and take responsibility for “different mistakes that I’ve made.” However, if he can’t even be accountable when asked about his behavior and he can’t give a direct answer to a direct question without getting emotional or indignant, how is that going to happen?
“I didn’t appreciate it then and I don’t appreciate it now… it’s one of the most disgusting moments in my presidency,” is what George W. Bush had to say about West’s earlier remark to Lauer in his recent interview. See his reaction to Kanye’s latest comment in the video below.