Friday, October 14, 2005

Kanye West: Most Inspiring Hip-hop Show Ever?

So says Robert Hilburn of the LA Times:

This is not only shaping up as the hip-hop tour of the year; it is one of the most inspiring ever.

I don't listen to the radio much, but what I've heard of Kanye's stuff is very good (I really like the 'Diamonds' song...a lot).

I need to check out this Common dude, too.

Holy crap - just saw the 'Diamonds' video. Had no idea what the title of the song was actually 'Diamonds From Sierra Leone'. The diamond trade of Africa is a dirty business that not enough people know about - props to Kanye for taking it pop.

Greg Palast knows a little about diamond mining, and Pat Robertson:

There was also, says Volder, the $7m he gave to 'Operation Blessing' to alleviate the woes of refugees fleeing genocide in Rwanda. Robertson's press operation puts the sum at only $1.2m. More interesting is the way the Operation Blessing funds were used in Africa. Through an emotional fundraising drive on his TV station, Robertson raised several million dollars for the tax-free charitable trust. Operation Blessing bought planes to shuttle medical supplies in and out of the refugee camp in Goma, Congo (then Zaire).

But investigative reporter Bill Sizemore of the Virginian Pilot discovered that over a six-month period - except for one medical flight - the planes were used to haul equipment for something called African Development Corporation, a diamond mining operation a long way from Goma. African Development is owned by Pat Robertson.

Did Robertson know about the diversion of the relief planes? According to pilots' records, he actually flew on one plane ferrying equipment to his mines.

One of Robertson's former business partners recalled that, although he often travelled in the minister's jet, he never saw Robertson crack open a Bible. 'Everywhere we were flying he had the Wall Street Journal and Investors' Daily.'

Volder counters that by diverting the planes for diamond mining, Robertson was actually carrying out God's work. The planes proved unfit for hauling medicine, so Robertson salvaged them for the diamond hunt which, if successful, would have 'freed the people of the Congo from lives of starvation and poverty'. The Virginia State Attorney General is conducting an investigation into Operation Blessing that is looking into the use of the charity's equipment.

Volder asserts that Robertson was 'not trying to earn a profit, but to help people'. As it turned out, he did little of either. The diamond safari went bust, as did Robertson's ventures in vitamin sales and multi-level marketing. These disastrous investments added to his losses in oil refining, the Founders Inn Hotel and a jet- leasing fiasco. One cannot term a demi-billionaire a poor businessman - but, outside of the media, Robertson could not cite for me any commercial success.

I might just have to go check out Kanye's show...

UPDATE: In Kanye's song 'All Falls Down', he says, 'We trying to buy back our 40 acres'. I knew I'd heard of it before, but meant to look it up to refresh the memory. Wiki got it.

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