Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The other Rev Al

If you think your local political numptie is some man when it comes to making the headlines, you obviously haven’t seen Rev Al Sharpton in action. Sharpton is one canny political operator. James Brown’s one-time tour manager was a 2004 …

Thu, Apr 19, 2007, 12:25

   

If you think your local political numptie is some man when it comes to making the headlines, you obviously haven’t seen Rev Al Sharpton in action.

Sharpton is one canny political operator. James Brown’s one-time tour manager was a 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and is seen as having a major influence on that party’s nominating process for the 2008 election.

As a result, he’s getting a lot of love from Democratic presidental contenders as they flock to New York to be hang out at the annual convention of Sharpton’s political, social and activist organistion, National Action Network.

But there are some music biz people who will not be attending this love-in. According to today’s New York Post, Universal Music have demanded the return of their $15,000 donation to the event.

This may or may not be related to a decision to cancel an award to LA Reid, who runs Universal’s hip-hop label Def Jam because of Sharpton’s ongoing campaign against rappers and their lyrics. Given his involvment in the Don Imus affair, Sharpton said he didn’t want to be seen as “inconsistent” by honouring a label whose artists used similar language to Imus.

Sharpton knows there’s a lot of mileage in having a pop at hip-hop and rappers and he’s a dab hand at it. During a panel discussion on race relations at the NAN convention, he rounded on rappers again and again.

“Many of these rappers did not even come out of the ‘hood. They’re just visiting the ‘hood to sell records. They’re calling people in the ‘hood ‘ho’s’ and ‘bitches’ … and they’re saying ‘yes ma’am’ to the people in the Hamptons.”

“We want to stop misogynistic records, misogynistic references. People have a right to free speech. We also have a right to free speech – to say we don’t like it.”

It will be interesting to see how Russell Simmons and his Hip-Hop Summit Action Network coalition of hip-hop activists will respond to this. They were due to announce measures to deal with racist and misogynist lyrics in hip-hop yesterday, but the planned press briefing was nixed.