- Flavor Flav was fired from hip hop group Public Enemy after he sent a cease and desist letter to the Sanders campaign.
- Chuck D, along with Public Enemy Radio, an offshoot of Public Enemy, performed at a Bernie Sanders rally. Flavor Flav was not set to play but claimed the campaign misled people into thinking he was involved.
- Chuck D has been vocal about his support for Sanders, but Flavor Flav has not endorsed a 2020 candidate.
- Chuck D’s lawyers maintain he was allowed to perform at the event under the name Public Enemy Radio. Chuck D sent out a series of tweets claiming that Flavor Flav often refuses to perform at benefit events where he won’t get paid.
Flavor Flav Booted After Cease and Desist
It almost goes without saying that the 2020 election has caused division in homes, families, and friend groups across the United States. Now, hip hop group Public Enemy has also fallen victim to this pattern, leading to the firing of member Flavor Flav.
Rolling Stone broke the news Sunday that Flavor Flav was no longer part of the group, after being a main player in it since its inception in 1985. The news came as fellow Public Enemy member Chuck D was set to take the stage at a Bernie Sanders rally in Los Angeles, a decision that did not sit well with Flavor Flav.
“Public Enemy and Public Enemy Radio will be moving forward without Flavor Flav. We thank him for his years of service and wish him well,” the group said in a statement to Rolling Stone.
The riff began between Flavor Flav and Chuck D on Thursday when the news that Public Enemy Radio was set to play the Sanders rally. Public Enemy Radio is an offshoot of Public Enemy led by Chuck D including DJ Lord, Jahi, and the S1Ws.
This resulted in Flavor Flav hitting Sanders’ campaign with a cease and desist, alleging that promotion for the concert would mislead people to believe he would be attending as a Public Enemy member. The letter claims the campaign used “the unauthorized use of his likeness, image and trademarked clock in promotional materials” for the rally.
Unlike Chuck D, who has been vocal about his support for Sanders, the letter states that Flavor Flav has not endorsed any candidate in 2020.
“While Chuck is certainly free to express his political views as he sees fit–his voice alone does not speak for Public Enemy,” the letter continued. “The planned performance will only be Chuck D of Public Enemy, it will not be a performance by Public Enemy…There is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav.”
“Bernie, his name is Flavor Flav and he does NOT approve your message!” the last line of the letter says. It is signed by Flavor Flav’s lawyer, as well as Flavor Flav himself, who included a handwritten note saying, “Hey Bernie, don’t do this.”
Chuck D Responds
Chuck D’s lawyers believe that Flavor Flav’s cease and desist did not stand on strong legal ground.
“From a legal standpoint, Chuck could perform as Public Enemy if he ever wanted to; he is the sole owner of the Public Enemy trademark,” his legal team said in a statement to Rolling Stone. Chuck D also spoke to the outlet about his frustration himself.
“Flavor chooses to dance for his money and not do benevolent work like this,” Chuck D told the magazine.
Before Flavor Flav’s firing, Chuck D also sent out a series of tweets about the cease and desist letter. He claimed that some of his frustrations stem from Flavor Flav not showing support for Harry Belafonte’s group that fights social injustice after he inducted Public Enemy into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
After performing at the rally, when news of Flavor Flav’s departure from Public Enemy had broken, Chuck D hopped back on Twitter. He said that Flavor Flav has a history of not agreeing to perform at benefit shows, and that had there have been a financial incentive to perform at the Sanders rally, Flavor Flav “would’ve been there front & center.”
As Chuck D mentioned, this is not the only legal battle he and Flavor Flav have been a part of. In 2017, Flavor Flav sued Chuck D and his management company over alleged unpaid profits. The suit was dismissed in 2019, but some think it could be what Chuck D was alluding to in his tweets.
Fans React to Political Moment
In addition to Chuck D’s frustrations with Flavor Flav’s unwillingness to do non-profit kind of work, many have turned to potential political divides between the two. Public Enemy as a group has been known to get political, but Chuck D, in particular, has been very open and active about his political beliefs. In 2017 Chuck D wrote an op-ed for the Daily Beast in 2017 called “Why Donald Trump Is a White Supremacist.”
At SXSW in 2016, he said, “Fuck Donald Trump” on stage. At that same event, Flavor Flav posed a voice of dissent.
“There’s a lot of people talking a lot of shit about Trump, but guess what? He’s winning,” Flavor Flav told Billboard. “The man is winning. I ain’t gonna lie, but listen, the United States has been ran a certain way for decades and decades and decades. You never know: Maybe Trump could possibly do something. Maybe he might step in office and do something. I’m not going to doubt him.”
The news of Flavor Flav being kicked out of Public Enemy caused a stir online, with many noting that it felt like a politically charged situation.
Some saw it as a metaphor for America in 2020.
Flavor Flav has not commented on the matter yet. According to Rolling Stone, Public Enemy Radio will be releasing a new album in April.
See what others are saying: (Esquire) (Daily Beast) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Lil Nas X Starts Bail Project Fund After Releasing Prison-Set Video for “Industry Baby”
The singer said he is working to address “the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community.“
Lil Nas X Starts Bail X Fund
Following the release of his latest single “Industry Baby,” Lil Nas X launched a partnership with The Bail Project that aims to cover bail funds for people across the country.
The music video for the song took place in the fictional “Montero State Prison,” a reference to the title of his upcoming album and the singer’s real name. While Lil Nas X spent much of his time online promoting the video with memes, he put a pause on the jokes Saturday to announce the Bail X Fund and bring attention to issues regarding incarceration in the United States.
“On a serious note, I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family,” Lil Nas X tweeted. “And the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community. That’s why I teamed up with @bailproject to create the Bail X Fund.”
The Bail Project aims to eliminate cash bail in the U.S. It has posted over $47 million in free bail for over 17,000 low-income people across the country. It also provides post-release support and services to those who need them.
“Music is the way I fight for liberation. It’s my act of resistance,” Lil Nas X wrote in a statement on the fund’s website. “But I also know that true freedom requires real change in how the criminal justice system works. Starting with cash bail.”
The Fight to End Cash Bail
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, like many issues within the criminal justice system, cash bail disproportionately harms Black Americans. The group claims that Black and brown defendants are somewhere between 10% to 25% “more likely than white defendants to be detained pretrial or to have to pay money bail.” It also argues that Black men are 50% more likely to be detained pretrial than white defendants, and says Black and brown defendants generally “receive bail amounts that are twice as high as bail set for white defendants – and they are less likely to be able to afford it.”
Lil Nas X said he is “doing something” to address these issues and invited his fans to join him. He hopes that his efforts will encourage other artists to use their platforms to likewise speak about these injustices.
“Ending cash bail is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time,” he wrote. “Donate what you can to the Bail X Fund. Let’s bring people home & let’s fight for freedom and equality.”
A donation tab was attached to the song’s music video, where it says nearly $44,000 has been raised for the Bail X Fund. The video has blown up on YouTube, racking up over 31 million views. It remains the number one trending video in music as of Monday morning.
The song has likewise found success on Spotify, where it debuted at number two and eventually reached the number one spot.
Fire at Home Reportedly Owned by Beyoncé and Jay-Z Under Arson Investigation
Officials said there were no injuries or evacuations during the fire, which was put out in around two hours.
Fire Breaks Out at Famed Couple’s Reported Residence
A Wednesday fire at a historic home in New Orleans, Louisiana believed to be owned by music titans Beyoncé and Jay-Z is being investigated as a possible arson.
On Thursday, a New Orleans Police Department spokesperson confirmed to multiple outlets that it had received a tip about a suspicious person in the area. Further details about the suspicious person and the cause of the fire have not been revealed.
Neighbors told local media that there is an unlocked gate on the property that outsiders sometimes use to gain entry.
Officials told The New York Post that it took 22 firefighters over two hours to extinguish the blaze, with no reported injuries or evacuations. The extent of the damage currently remains unclear, but a spokesperson told The Post that given the age of the residence, the situation could have been far more severe.
“If [the firefighters] didn’t get there when they did, it could have been much worse,” the spokesperson said. “It’s a historic home.”
About the Home
The building was first built in the Garden District neighborhood of the city in the 1920s as a church. It was later used as a ballet school and then became a high-end residence in 2000. Realtor.com says it is currently valued at $3 million.
The home was purchased in 2015 by Sugarcane Parkin LLC. According to The Washington Post, this company has the same registered address as other entities owned by Beyoncé. Sugarcane Parkin is also allegedly managed by Beyoncé’s mother, Celestine Lawson, better known as Tina Knowles.
Representatives for the “Lemonade” singer and her husband have not issued any public statements about the incident, nor have they confirmed that the home is owned by the couple.
In March of this year, storage units in Los Angeles belonging to Beyonce were burglarized. According to TMZ, over a million dollars of goods were stolen, including expensive dresses and handbags.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Post) (NOLA)
Cleveland’s Baseball Team Changes Name From Indians to Guardians
The move marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans.
Name Change Announced
Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team said Friday that it will change its name after the 2021 season from the Indians to the Guardians.
The team announced the name change with a just over two-minute video narrated by actor Tom Hanks.
“You see, there’s always been a Cleveland — that’s the best part of our name,” Hanks says in the clip. “And now it’s time to unite as one family, one community, to build the next era for this team and this city.”
This marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans.
Despite long-running calls to change racist and offensive team names — including the Washington Redskins — such campaigns did not gain significant momentum until the nationwide racial reckoning that followed the murder of George Floyd.
Officials behind the Cleveland team first pledged to change the name last year and previously removed the “Chief Wahoo” logo, a caricature of a Native American character, from its uniforms following the 2018 season.
It toyed with several options before ultimately landing on Guardians, which draws from Cleveland’s architectural history.
“We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland,” team owner and chairman Paul Dolan said in a news release.
“Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.”
“‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge. It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”
Guardians will be the fifth name in franchise history, joining Blues (1901), Bronchos (1902), Naps (1903-14), and Indians (1915-2021).