(AllHipHop News) Earlier this week Dahveed Nelson, one of the co-founders of The Last Poets, gave an interview with Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock. In the exchange Nelson accused mogul/rapper Jay Z of “putting on blackface and cooning” as well as placing the blame for Trayvon Martin’s death on Hip Hop for reinforcing negative stereotypes of African-Americans.
Fellow founding member of The Last Poets Abiodun Oyewole read those comments and reached out to AllHipHop.com with a statement clarifying that Nelson’s opinions about Jay Z and Hip Hop should not be attributed to The Last Poets as a collective. Oyewole also wanted to express that he disagrees with Nelson’s viewpoints and calls his comments divisive.
Read Abiodun Oyewole’s full statement below.
Here’s my response to Jason Whitlock’s interview with Dahveed calling Jay-Z a coon.
It is unnecessary to refer to Jay-Z or any other Hip Hop artist as a “coon”. Hip Hop was created on the foundation of The Last Poets. The Last Poets are a group of African-American men who use poetry to address issues concerning Black people. We considered ourselves to be the final word in bringing about unity within the race. We often speak about the white man “divides and conquers”. He does nothing of the sort. He conquers the divided. He has been doing this for centuries.
Dahveed Nelson, an original member and co-founder of the group, made remarks during an interview that were very divisive and not helpful to the cause of Black Unity. The Last Poets are the fathers of all the Jay-Zs in the world. We must take our role as father seriously and not “throw the children out with the bath water.” Jay-Z and Beyoncé have made quite a few positive contributions to the Black community. This should not be ignored.
Because I am one of The Last Poets I am concerned about the social and political circumstances my people are dealing with. This does not mean that other wordsmiths have to echo my sentiments. On the other hand, I would love to hear more positive messages, educational and historical information as well as stories about our victories in a world where we were designed to self-destruct.
In the advent of the Trayvon Martin verdict, and all the Trayvons that we know and don’t know about, it is important that we come together and stop throwing stones at each other. The only answer to the countless injustices we are faced with daily is to be even stronger and more deliberate in our love for each other. We need to share good thoughts, be encouraging, be supportive and criticize each other constructively.
When we work together we can do anything and we have proven that already. We have great power backed up by our ancestors, but we need to unify in order to receive the benefits of our great power. We must show a unified force so strong until no one white or other would even imagine assaulting us, insulting us, or killing us.
I think most of us know that racism is very much alive in America. Because there is a Black president many of us thought that things would change. The fact is racism has become even more rampant. Racism is a disease just like cancer and no cure has been found for either. The elders need to reach out to the youth and pass the torch honorably. We should help them find their way and make their mark. There are some elements and styles of Hip Hop that I too find distasteful, but it is a genre that should not be demonized. And if that be the case then we created this devil.
I hope and pray that the future will afford us time to have healthy dialogue that will turn into significant actions using all of our wonderful art forms for the purpose of liberation and Black Unity. The elder wordsmiths must talk to and listen to the younger wordsmiths. Name calling is unnecessary and unacceptable.
- Abiodun of The Last Poets