By Tolu Olorunda
“See, a part of me saying, ‘keep shining’/
How? When I know of the blood diamonds/
Though it’s thousands of miles away/
Sierra Leone connect to what we go through today/”
–Kanye West, “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix),” Late Registration, 2005.
It’s always amusing, sometimes flattering, to watch overnight celebrities make a fool of themselves–without even knowing it. For years now, we’ve witnessed the cringe-inducing stupidity of Hollywood celebrities who, we’re told, deserve more respect because they are much smarter than the parts they play in interviews. They’re just playin’ dumb, their handlers assure us.
It’s a game played so well: 1) The stupid remark is made–preferably on camera 2) The public reacts in shock 3) Heart-felt apologies are rendered ad nauseam 4) Society moves on to the next victim.
It’s fun. It’s comic gold. It also reassures us of how much work we have left, to make our world as good as the promise of fairness and equality it made manifest when our mothers gave the final push.
But deep down, beneath the rage and riot, their stupidity helps us cope psychologically. The point: Even though I’m not as rich as he or she is, thank God I’m not so intellectually-challenged. Thank God I’m not the one inadvertently making a strident case for more engaging curriculum in schools. Thank God I’m not the butt of late night comics’ monologues.
It’s a psychological thing.
There are some other experiences, however, that don’t yield exactly the same results–times when these esteemed pop culture producers take a step beyond the line of self-deprecation, and tread onto grounds less amusing and flattering; make the kind of statement that turns P.R. offices into war-zone environments.
Such might be the case with Kim Kardashian, the Reality TV show star, who went last night on CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman and made a case, in the most magnanimous form possible, in favor of conflict diamonds–B-L-O-O-D diamonds.
Letterman, already having an imperfect night by himself, asked Ms. Kardashian what she did this past summer. “I went to Africa,” she replied. “Botswana. Russell Simmons and his Diamond Empowerment Fund sent me and my sister and my boyfriend, and we just went to Botswana. And, it was really cool to see how all the diamonds really help the country out there.”
Of course, the Letterman studio audience, far too intelligent to let this great moment in pop culture history slip by unanswered, roared in laughter. The deeply puzzled look of Dave’s face–including teeth-sucking and cheek-puffing–said it all. She shot back, though: “I had a misconception, you know, of what was going on there.”
Letterman, hoping hopelessly to salvage the last left of Ms. Kardashian’s integrity, interrupted: “See, I had–and believe me I’m ignorant in most matters–a different impression, that the diamond industry, maybe on a global stage, was generating huge sums of money, but locally, in these countries were they were mined, that the people were being exploited.”
“That’s what I assumed before I went there,” she comforted him–and the millions watching around the world (including those in South Africa)–“and so that’s kind of why I wanted to go, and it’s completely the opposite. These diamonds fund the schools and the hospitals. They fund pretty much the entire country.”
Kardashian went on to explain why she was “a little bit disappointed in Africa” for not having enough “wildlife animals.”
It’s a shame the whole continent wasn’t made aware of her visit soon enough. Perhaps we could have flown in the “crazy animals” she craved from other continents–as she chose to cast into lakes of fire the whole of Africa for the sins of the one city she toured.
So, for that, Kim Kardashian, on behalf of Africa, I apologize.
Source: The Daily Voice