Harvey and Latifah Defend Kanye West, Portray Him as a Martyr

<img hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="media/2005-09-09-BETSpecial.jpg" /> During the Friday night <a href="http://www.bet.com/Music/SOS+Stars+Telethon+Relief.htm?wbc_purpose=Basic...(SOS) Saving OurSelves: The BET Relief Telethon</i></a>, actor/comedian Steve Harvey and singer/actress Queen Latifah came to rapper Kanye West's defense. Harvey imparted: “We love you, brother. And do keep your head up, and we understand what you were trying to say, and you have a lot of people's support in spite of all the ridicule that you're receiving, man. Do stay strong.” Latifah saw West as a martyr, chiming in with how “you always going to pay to speak what's on your mind and what's on your heart. But that don't mean you shouldn't say it.”<br /><br />Last Friday (Sept. 2), on NBC's <i>Concert for Hurricane Relief</i>, West ludicrously contended that “we already realize a lot of the people that could help are at war right now fighting another way and they’ve given them permission to go down and shoot us.” He later added this slam: “George Bush doesn't care about black people.&quot; (<a href="node/960">Previous NewsBusters item</a> on West.)<br /><br />Transcript of the comments from Harvey and Latifah follows. <b>Video Excerpt</b>: <a href="media/2005-09-09-BETSpecial.rm">RealPlayer</a> or <a href="media/2005-09-09-BETSpecial.wmv">Windows Media</a><br /><br /><!--break-->The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down the exchange, from about 9:18pm EDT, during which <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0367724/">Harvey</a>, the star of the WB sitcom <em>The Steve Harvey Show</em> (1996-2002)<em> </em>and now host of a WB sketch show called <em>Big Time</em>, and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001451/">Latifah</a>, a star in the movie <i>Chicago</i> whose birth name was Dana Owens, were standing in front of a phone bank. Their comments followed a brief taped message from West in which he didn't say much and didn't repeat any of his earlier comments. He twice said the situation in New Orleans is “messed up, [blanked] up” (BET killed the sound briefly), and he defended himself by saying that “I say what I really feel.”<br /><br />BET then switched to Harvey and Latifah live. <br /><br />Harvey: &quot;Hey, you know, on a personal note to a young brother like Kanye West, who is being ridiculed for statements, you know, I just wanted to say on his behalf, sometimes, out of hurt and frustration, we say a lot of things, but we love you, brother. And do keep your head up, and we understand what you were trying to say, and you have a lot of people's support in spite of all the ridicule that you're receiving, man. Do stay strong. This is America, it is a free country, and freedom of speech happens to be one of those things.&quot;<br /><br />Queen Latifah: &quot;And freedom ain't free, so, you know.&quot;<br /><br />Harvey: &quot;No, and we have paid dearly for it.&quot;<br /><br />Queen Latifah: &quot;That's right. And you always going to pay to speak what's on your mind and what's on your heart. But that don't mean you shouldn't say it, so, that's what's up.&quot;

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center