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Jay-Z backs Kanye West’s telethon outburst

‘This is America,’ says the rapper defending his friend
/ Source: Billboard

Rap mogul Jay-Z is standing behind Kanye West, who went off-script to declare that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during his appearance in last Friday’s NBC telethon for Hurricane Katrina victims.

“I’m backing Kanye 100 percent,” Jay-Z told Billboard by phone from London. “This is America. You should be able to say what you want to say. We have freedom of speech.”

Jay-Z is also West’s boss in his capacity as president/CEO of Def Jam Recordings. West’s new album, “Late Registration,” opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Wednesday.

During his Friday appearance, West added that America was set up “to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible.”

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Jay-Z said he shared some of West’s views. “It’s really numbing,” he said. “You can’t believe it’s happening in America. You wonder, what’s going on? Why were people so slow to react? I don’t understand it.”

Although Jay-Z said he hasn’t “spoken to anyone about doing a concert event” to benefit Katrina victims, he says he wants to speak with Sean “Diddy” Combs about starting a fund exclusively to help blacks in times of crisis. “Just in case anything like this happens in the future, we can do what the elder Bush and (former President Bill) Clinton are doing for our people specifically.”