Chuck D goes deep
Chuck D, who raps for the legendary and controversial group Public Enemy, was in town to perform at Sunday’s Virgin Mobile FreeFest at Merriweather Post Pavilion, where G2 caught up with him backstage in the tented artists lounge. We asked him about a 1989 Washington Times interview in which his fellow group member Professor Griff told David Mills, “Jews are wicked” and are responsible for “the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe.”
The Professor was fired from the group in an effort to quell the controversy surrounding his remarks.
“The biggest issue that I would have with the music business and in particular that I had twenty years ago in 1989 is that this is too jarring and too out of the ordinary that you would be speaking to a couple of black musicians about international issues or anything other than someone shaking their booty,” Chuck D said somewhat incongruously, given his status as the founder of the group acclaimed by critics for the overtly radical political sensibility it brought to hip-hop.
“Black artists over the last twenty years have been reduced to silly sound bites and candy-like expressions with the art form and meaningless meandering about nothing,” he added.
“They asked Griff what did he think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where he gave his point of view and was egged on to an anti-Jewish type of thing where it never should’ve taken that road anyway,” Chuck D said.
Reflecting on the passing of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, he said, “I would think that Senator Kennedy got to a point in his life where he says, ‘Hey, you know, I’ve got to do more than just doing for myself. There’s got to be something more important; we’ve got to come up with something that will go beyond just feeding me and just my immediate family.’ ”
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