It was a feud that set twin worlds of entertainment and politics abuzz a decade ago. Amid the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Grammy award-winning rapper and producer Kanye West leveled a tirade of criticism at then-President George W. Bush during an internationally televised benefit show, accusing the former chief executive of purposefully mismanaging disaster relief efforts. Among other things, West extemporaneously said that the military had been dispatched to shoot hurricane victims, famously concluding his comments with the statement “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” A decade later, there are new signs of détente in the rocky relationship between two men who have been — for completely different reasons — two of the most influential men in the world at different points in their respective lives.
As previously noted by Inquisitr, Kanye West received an honorary doctorate earlier this week from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During his five-minute address at the ceremony, West offered a public apology of sorts for how he has expressed his opinions over the course of his time in the spotlight. People further noted that West specifically mentioned his one-time foil George W. Bush, complimenting the former president on his retirement-era hobby of painting portraits, pets, and landscapes.
“George Bush has some very cool self-portraits,” West quipped. “I didn’t know he was an artist.”
Assuming that West’s brief non-sequitur shout-out to a fellow “artist” was genuine — after all, it can be kind of difficult to tell with Kanye — it wouldn’t be the first time that he has tried to mend fences with Bush. In 2010, Bush wrote about Kanye’s post-Katrina rant in his memoir, Decision Points.
“He called me a racist. And I didn’t appreciate it then. I don’t appreciate it now,” Bush said of West in an excerpt posted online by Pitchfork. “It’s one thing to say, ‘I don’t appreciate the way he’s handled his business.’ It’s another thing to say, ‘This man’s a racist.’ I resent it, it’s not true.”
Kanye West sat down with Today‘s Matt Lauer shortly after Bush’s book landed on shelves and taped a response to the former commander-in-chief, advising that he was sorry for his remarks and explaining that he spoke out of passion and frustration.
Upon viewing West’s recorded comments back in 2010, Bush expressed appreciation for the sentiments. He has not officially commented on Kanye’s most recent mention of his paintings, though.
Despite his newfound appreciation for Bush’s handiwork, it is difficult to imagine that Kanye West will be in the market for an oil-on-canvas rendering of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to hang above the mantle, especially considering that West’s wife Kim Kardashian is an avowed and outspoken Democrat. But it seems entirely possible that President Bush and Kanye might well come face-to-face someday and, having finally found some common ground, perhaps the two artists could ultimately get along famously. In a perfect world, they might even embark on some kind of “Odd Couple” project. After all, even if the recording industry isn’t ready for a Yeezy/Dubya joint, the antics of such an uncanny combo would still make for one heck of a reality show. Dare to dream, America.
[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]