DiCaprio, Kanye West Keep Spotlight on Conflict Diamonds

The industry may think it’s turned the page on conflict diamonds, but the popular media are maintaining their interest.

Leonardo DiCaprio has reportedly agreed to star in The Blood Diamond, set to open in 2007. DiCaprio will portray a Sierra Leone diamond smuggler during the country’s civil war in the late 1990s.

Meanwhile, rapper Kanye West has produced a new single, album, and video named “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” that features some of the gruesome images associated with the issue.

The remix of the song directly addresses well-known jeweler to the stars Jacob the Jeweler by name: “These ain’t conflict diamonds, is they Jacob? / Don’t lie to me, man. / See, a part of me sayin’ keep shinin.’ / How, when I know of the blood diamonds? / Though it’s thousands of miles away / Sierra Leone connect to what we go through today.”

It continues: “I thought my Jesus piece was so harmless / Till I seen a picture of a shorty armless. / And here’s the conflict. / It’s in a black person’s soul to rock that gold. / Spend your whole life tryin’ to get that ice, / On a polar rugby it look so nice. / How could somethin’ so wrong make me feel so right, right?”

The Diamond Information Center released a statement saying those lyrics “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,” says Carson Glover, spokesman for the Diamond Information Center. “The volume of conflict diamonds in circulation is believed to have dropped below 1 percent, if any at all, and it is virtually impossible for unscrupulous dealers to sell noncertified rough diamonds.”