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I randomly watched the Kanye video “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” today. I’m a bit intrigued by the relationship of the lyrics and visual. The lyrics have little to do with blood diamonds (unless… Kanye is using his life as a metaphor for blood diamonds but I don’t feel like analyzing that. Anyways, somehow I also stumbled upon a page that had rappers talking about conflict diamonds.

But I was shocked by the quote from Akon.

I don’t even believe in conflict diamonds. That’s just a movie. Think about it. Ain’t nobody thought about nothing about no conflict diamonds until the movie came out. Where was all that sh*t before the movie? That’s the problem with people — they believe everything they read or see on TV. Unless you go to Sierra Leone and see what’s going down, don’t believe everything you’re reading or see on TV. Trust me. If anything, there’s conflict oil. Worry about the oil — you see what the oil is doing to people. You see what Bush is doing over there… oil is conflict. When you’re driving your cars, you’re driving conflict fuel. It’s killing thousands of people a minute. Diamonds are the least of our worries. — Akon, rap star and proud owner of a diamond mine in South Africa

um… what? I mean Akon has a point there is conflict oil. He leaves out that there is also conflict gold, cobalt, and any other rare resource. However Akon’s argument has some serious holes. Just because there are wars for oil (and every other resource) does not mean that there are not conflict diamonds. That is stupid. Also… we can’t help but use oil at this point without just dropping out of the system. There is oil dependency. There is no diamond real diamond dependency.

Then there is the idea that diamonds that aren’t conflict diamonds are ethical. But that simply isn’t the case: mines cause damage to lungs, we all know that. And apparently some mines *cough*De Beers *cough* in South Africa don’t use simple techniques to protect miners.

I don’t know. I have no desire for diamonds knowing that people suffer for them. I think buying conflict-free diamonds and believing that they are ethical is a simplistic way to think.

Also I’m just going to mention that this need to consume and its ties with music seem so odd. Was every subculture based on consumption? Because the big ones now, those hipsters and then the hip hop culture, and especially this unique street culture fusion of the two, sem to be incredibly dependent on consumption right now.


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  2. i completely agree with you 100%. ive been doing a lot of research on blood diamonds, and i find it disgraceful that akon could even say the things he’s said. you’re right he has a point, the whole oil thing, but its not like we are completely disregarding that. if he wants to get all technical, he can go ahead and watch blood diamond, and he’ll see that they do make reference to the oil. in general, i find this whole thing insane. its as if he just wants intention? or he just isnt willing to give up his stupid diamonds. he’s denying the fact that millions of people have died, and that there are still blood diamonds circulating today. i just can’t believe he has the nerve to bring other people into this as well. he also made comments about kanye west saying that he only made his song “diamonds are forever” based on what he’s seen on tv, or in the movies. fine. akon can have his own opinion, but dont drag others into this. he needs ssome serious help. maybe he should read a book about it or something.

  3. Wonderful article, very well explained.

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