Kanye West Sticking to Music in NFL Show

Wednesday, September 7th 2005, 9:52 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ In his first public appearance since verbally lashing President Bush, rapper Kanye West said he would stick to entertainment at this week's NFL opening kickoff concert.

``I don't want to detract from the show at all, because it's entertainment, and a lot of times, in a time of need, we need entertainment to lift people's spirits,'' West said Tuesday at a news conference to promote Thursday's free concert at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

On Friday, during an NBC telethon for Hurricane Katrina survivors, West said that ``George Bush doesn't care about black people.''

Departing from his script, he added that America is set up ``to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible.'' His statement about Bush was cut from NBC's West Coast airing.

On Tuesday, the Grammy-winning rapper did not elaborate on his comments at the ``Concert for Hurricane Relief.'' Looking glum, West sidestepped questions about the remarks, noting that the week's events have been ``a lot of pressure for one human being.''

The Rev. Al Sharpton, however, defended West's comments on ABC's ``Jimmy Kimmel Live,'' saying NBC shouldn't have edited out his statement about Bush.

``If he got on there calling women names, they wouldn't have censored him. If he got on there saying something derogatory, they wouldn't have censored him,'' Sharpton said.

``For him to stand up for his own people, they censor. I think they should let Kanye say what needs to be said and let the president defend it if he wants to.''

West was joined at Tuesday's brief news conference by Maroon 5's Adam Levine, Good Charlotte's Benji and Joel Madden, and NFL alumni players Willie Davis, Eric Dickerson and Jack Youngblood. Good Charlotte, Maroon 5 and singer Rihanna will also perform with West at Thursday's concert.

West left quickly afterward, eluding reporters. But Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden said he supported West's right to express himself.

``The great thing about our country is we all get to say what we feel and believe. Whether you agree with him, or whether I agree with him or not, he has the right to say what he thinks,'' Madden said.

``I think Kanye is very passionate about the tragedy down there. ... He's just trying to get other people as fired up as he is.''