Hip-Hop Flip-Flop

By Lee Speigel

Mar 2, 2008 9:43pm

You may recall last April, Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons told us that he didn’t much care for how Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., compared Don Imus’s "nappy ho’s" comments with the crude lyrics of rappers.

Obama had told the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus that "we’ve got to admit to ourselves, that it was not the first time that we heard the word ‘ho.’ Turn on the radio station. There are a whole lot of songs that use the same language … We’ve been permitting it in our homes, and in our schools and on iPods … If it’s not good for Don Imus, I don’t know why it’s good for us. If we don’t like other people to degrade us, why are we degrading ourselves?"

Mr. Simmons did not agree that the two were comparable.

"People who are angry, uneducated and come from tremendous struggle, they have poetic license and they say things that offend you," Simmons said. "You have to talk about the conditions that create those kinds of lyrics. When you are talking about a privileged man who has a mainstream vehicle and mainstream support, and is on a radio station like that, you have to deal with them differently."

But today, in the New York Times Caucus blog, we learn that Simmons has warmed to Mr. Obama, stating, "Obama’s leadership, passion and demand for a change resonates effectively with the aspirations of millions of people who want a better quality of life."

Word!

- jpt

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