Thursday, April 19, 2007
Getting a bad rap with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…
• The National Action Network conference, held annually by the Rev. Al Sharpton, kicked off yesterday with a few hiccups. First, Universal Music Group allegedly demanded its $15,000 event donation be returned in protest over Sharpton’s decision to withdraw an award that would have gone to Def Jam’s L.A. Reid (see Essay 2016). Also, Def Jam founder Russell Simmons allegedly reneged on buying two tables — estimated at $10,000 each — to a dinner at the summit, which Sharpton interpreted as another protest over the activist’s criticism of rap lyrics. “Oh, you only bought tickets if he would agree with us on lyrics?” remarked Sharpton. “You weren’t supporting the civil-rights cause, you weren’t supporting the fight against police brutality? I’ve been against the lyrics all along.” Simmons insisted it was a misunderstanding, and he planned to pay for the tables. Additionally, a spokesperson for Universal Music Group later denied asking for a refund. The National Action Network needs to work on its communications.
• Also at the National Action Network conference, former New York Mayor Ed Koch dissed Sharpton over the Tawana Brawley incident. “If you would have apologized for the Tawana Brawley hoax, you’d be a crossover leader,” said Koch. At this point, Sharpton must be reevaluating the National Action Network conference invitation list.
• A group of lesbians were found guilty of assaulting a filmmaker in Greenwich Village last summer (see Essay 953). The women charged that the filmmaker became abusive after they rebuffed his advances, and he initiated the brawl. But a jury didn’t believe them, so the group is now headed for jail. The filmmaker will probably turn the incident into a twisted Girls Gone Wild video.