The Diamond Information Center recently released a statement saying the lyrics to the new Kayne West song “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” do not reflect “the tremendous work the diamond industry has done” in stamping out conflict diamonds.
“The issue of conflict diamonds is one that the industry has always taken very seriously,” said a statement from Carson Glover, DIC spokesman. “All members of the trade stand united against the illicit trade of diamonds, and all parties are vigilant and determined to stop any wrong doing.”
West released the video, shot on location in the Czech Republic, on the BET network Wednesday. Some of the lyrics to West’s song are as follows:
“Good morning, this ain’t Vietnam/ Still, people lose hands, legs, arms for real,” ‘he rhymes. “It was known, in Sierra Leone/ When I speak about diamonds in this song/ I ain’t talking about the ones that be glowing/ I’m talking about Roc-A-Fella, my home/ These ain’t conflict diamonds, is they Jacob?/ Don’t lie to me, man/ See, a part of me saying, ‘Keep shining,’ / How even though it’s thousands of miles away/ Sierra Leone connects to what we go through today … I thought my Jesus piece was so harmless/ Till I saw a picture of a shorty armless/ And here’s the conflict.”
The song was originally going to be titled “Diamonds are Forever.” However, when fellow rapper and friend of West, Q-Tip, first heard the song, he told West about conflict diamonds.
“When I first played the song for Q-Tip,” West said in a statement, “He started informing me. The very first thing I did was change the title of the song. From that point on, I wanted to do whatever I could to learn more and educate people about the problem. We came up with the concept for the video and of course, I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to rap on the subject.”
The DIC, however, says West’s song doesn’t address the total issue of conflict diamonds.
“The volume of conflict diamonds in circulation is believed to have dropped below 1% if any at all and it is virtually impossible for unscrupulous dealers to sell non-certified rough diamonds,” Glover said. “The diamond industry is one of the cornerstones of economic and social development of many Sub-Saharan African nations. Without it, the fantastic growth and prosperity impacting millions will be jeopardized, further delaying Africa’s long struggle to catch up with the rest of the developing nations around the world.”