Rev. Al Sharpton Accused of Accepting “Blood Money” From Rapper Lil Wayne

| July 23, 2013 | 0 Comments

al sharpton

Words by Britt L

Civil rights activist and politician Rev Al Sharpton announced in June that he was set to publish a book with Cash Money Records’ publishing affiliate, Cash Money Content. The book titled The Rejected Stone will be released under the hip-hop based publisher. Yes, the deal sounds very contradictory, given that Al Sharpton has been said to not be a fan of rap music, let alone Cash Money co-owner Lil’ Wayne’s music in particular.

Lil Wayne has been heavily criticized as the hip-hop artist who compared Emmett Till’s bruised face to a woman’s v@gina.  Massive protests by the family of Emmett Till, led to Pepsico ending their lucrative relationship with Lil Wayne.  As the deal was closed, Al Sharpton stepped in to represent the Till family in negotiations with Lil Wayne and Pepsico.  To the surprise of many, the result appears to be that Al Sharpton got a book deal with Lil Wayne.

Reverend Sharpton’s former associate and employee Carl Redding calls him out on this fact in particular. In a letter posted by Rap Rehab, Redding issues directed toward the Reverend himself:

“I recently read that you had penned a book deal with Cash Money, the very company that touts Lil Wayne as one its most recognized artists. Though I wish I could say that I was surprised by this move, I am not. As one who has spent years publicly crusading against the harmful effect of misogynistic lyrics on our young people, it’s clear that your decision to cut a lucrative financial deal with those who propagate such destructive images in our community, is the latest example of your failed leadership. Dr. Martin Luther King, who you claim to emulate, is doing somersaults in his grave. As you know, I was drawn to your social justice work when I came to work for you in 1990. Fresh out of the US Marines, I temporarily put my culinary ambitions on hold to serve as your personal driver and then later, chief of staff. Though you give me no credit, and have attempted to rewrite me out of the history books, it was I who was a founding member of National Action Network and I who even helped to name the social justice organization. Like the dozens of people who worked for you, I believed back then, in your mission and your calling.

I believe in my heart of heart that the Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. would not have traded 30 pieces of silver to the likes of the Little Wayne’s of our world today as you have done by signing a piece of book deal paper with Cash Money… So Rev Sharpton, in conclusion of my Open Letter to you, I am publicly imploring you to end your business relationship with Cash Money and return the “blood money” that you have accepted from those very people who continue to have the highest disregard for our women and our community… Our community is in desperate need of real leadership to solve the issues such as mass incarceration, an alarming level of black on black crime, and high unemployment that continues to impact millions of blacks. Sadly, as you have personally climbed the corporate ladder–securing a job at MSNBC–you have forgotten about the countless number of your supporters who stood by you when you were deemed as a racial pariah and agitator. “Your decision to cooperate and do business with a record label that routinely calls black women outside of their name, is deeply problematic and begs the question: where is your commitment to the black community?”

Lil’ Wayne released some lyrics on the song Karate Chop, that were pretty disrespectful to Emmett Till’s legacy, a well-known case involving the Civil Rights movement.

Wayne also dissed Al back in 2008 on his album, Tha Carter III.

The inherent contradiction in Sharpton’s deal with Lil Wayne is that Lil Wayne is considered by many to be the greatest enemy of black America in the hip-hop music industry.  His lyrics regularly include the glorification of violence, promotion of drug and alcohol abuse, and irresponsible sexual behavior.  The black community has banded together to challenge Lil Wayne on his lyrics, and Redding is among many who are confused about how Sharpton can fight for the black community and be on Lil Wayne’s payroll, all at the same damn time.

Does this mean that black leadership is a fraud?  What are your thoughts on this matter? Leave a comment in the box below.

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Hip Hop Historian and accomplished photo journalist

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