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CHICAGO — Kanye West says he isn’t political and has no interest in “who’s running with who” in the 2008 election. But the hip-hop mogul filmed a public service announcement Friday for an advocacy group trying to make education the top priority for the next president.
“Politics is a business,” the six-time Grammy winner said Friday. “I’m more social. I just care about people.”
During the filming of the television commercial, sponsored by Strong American Schools and his own Kanye West Foundation, West read from a script at the front of a mock classroom filled with real Chicago students.
“Yo. Becoming a music superstar took hard work but it also took a solid education,” West said dryly into the camera, his hands half inside his pockets.
“Say it with a little more meaning, Kanye,” a director prodded.
West took his hands out of his pockets and started gesturing as he talked, taking several more stabs at the script.
Strong American Schools is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. The group, which says it is nonpartisan and doesn’t endorse candidates, is promoting three goals for education: higher standards, effective teachers and more support for learning, according to Executive Director Marc Lampkin, who worked on President Bush’s 2000 campaign.
Other celebrities making public-service announcements for the organization’s $60 million “Ed in ’08” campaign include Ron Livingston and Maura Tierney.
West, who grew up in Chicago, quit classes at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and later left Chicago State University for the music business. His 2004 Grammy-award winning album was titled “The College Dropout.”
His new album, “Graduation,” comes out Sept. 11, the same day as the release of “Curtis,” the new album from 50 Cent, who promised to retire from his solo career if West’s new album outsells his.
West denied any feud between the two and said he talks to 50 Cent, “all the time.”
“My focus is just putting positive energy out there, making extremely good music … and try to put myself in a position where I can help as many people as possible,” he said.
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