If the world didn't know who Kanye West was before, they certainly did after his infamous outburst during a Red Cross-sponsored telethon to raise money for Hurricane Katrina survivors Sept. 3, 2005, on NBC.
Appearing in front of the camera with actor Mike Meyers, West ignored the teleprompter and said, "Red cross is doing as much as they can. We already realize a lot of the people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way. And now they've given them permission to go down and shoot us. George Bush doesn't care about black people." Myers stood frozen, and then the camera cut off.
NBC released a statement about the incident, saying, "Kanye West departed from the scripted comments that were prepared for him, and his opinions in no way represent the views of the networks. It would be most unfortunate if the efforts of the artists who participated tonight and the generosity of millions of Americans who are helping those in need are overshadowed by one person's opinion."
West revisited the incident in a 2007 interview with ABC News' "Nightline." He said that the aftermath of his statement "changed his life for the better. I think people understood me a little more. They understood, like, this guy is like…has a little baby Tourettes … maybe not quite diagnosed, but the truth just comes out like accidentally."
2004 American Music Awards
Not one to easily accept losing, one of West's most famous tirades came during the 2004 American Music Awards, when the opinionated rapper left the show after losing the Best New Artist Category to country singer Gretchen Wilson.
He told reporters backstage, "I felt like I was definitely robbed, and I refused to give any politically correct bullsh--ass comment. ... I was the Best New Artist this year." West later apologized to Wilson, saying, " I was raised better than that. It was very ignorant."
Months after the incident, West was nominated for 10 Grammy nominations. He won three awards, including Best Rap Album for "The College Dropout." Before the Grammy nominations were announced the following year, West warned people, "I said I was the face of the Grammys last year. I'm 10 times that [this year]. Get your cameras ready. Two things: Do not let me get up on that stage and do not let me get up on that stage. Either way, we going crazy!"