Carl Campanile, New York Post, April 18, 2007
Seeking to avoid being labeled a hypocrite, the Rev. Al Sharpton has “suspended” plans to honor the head of Island Def Jam Music Groupwhose stable of singers includes foul- mouthed Ludacris.
“We don’t want to be inconsistent,” Sharpton told The Post.
One of Reid’s star entertainers is Ludacris, whose song titles include “Ho” and “Move Bitch.”
Another Def Jam singer, Lady Sovereign, recorded a song titled “Love Me or Hate Me. F—- You!!!”
Hip-hop mogul Jay-Zwho utters the n-word in his songsalso has his Roc-A-Fella record label under Def Jam.
“We have withdrawn the award for L.A. Reid,” Sharpton said. “We put the awards on hold. . .. We have suspended those awards.”
Sharpton said he spoke to Reid about the change of plans. He said both agreed it would be inappropriate for the civil-rights activist to give the record executive an award at a conference where Sharpton has promised to name the names of corporations that support “gutter” rap. “We’re going to target companies over the issue of lyrics. I’m going to be more forceful. I’m not going to send mixed signals,” Sharpton said.
Meanwhile, all the major Democratic presidential candidatesHillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama and Bill Richardsonare expected to join Gov. Eliot Spitzer by making appearances at the convention.
After Rev. Al Sharpton cancelled plans yesterday to honor Island Def Jam CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid at a charity dinner because he feels the label releases offensive Rap music, Universal Music Group allegedly asked that its $15,000 donation to Sharpton’s event be returned. The New York Post reported yesterday that Sharpton “suspended” the planned James Brown award for Reid because he handles a stable of foul-mouthed singers, and Sharpton believed the recognition would have been inappropriate and hypocritical in the wake of his criticism of the racially insensitive comments made by Don Imus. The Post says that associates of Reid then contacted Sharpton’s organization, the National Action Network, to have their contribution returned, as Universal is the parent company to Island Def Jam. However, a Universal spokesman denied that the company asked for its money back and said there are no hard feelings over Sharpton’s withdrawing the award.
Meanwhile, Def Jam founder Russell Simmons didn’t buy an anticipated two tables to the National Action Network dinner, also supposedly in protest.
The debate continues over whether some of the lyrics in Hip-Hop music promote the kind of offensive and degrading attitude that was displayed by Imus. Sharpton has called for record labels and radio stations to crack down on negative lyrics, while Simmons and others have disagreed that there is definitely a correlation.
Simmons and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network recently released a statement saying, “Hip-Hop is a worldwide cultural phenomena that transcends race and doesn’t engage in racial slurs. Don Imus’ racially motivated diatribe toward the Rutgers women’s basketball team was in no way connected to Hip-Hop culture. . .. We are concerned by the false comparisons some in the media are making between Don Imus and Hip-Hop.”