The leader of a local branch of the Bethlehem, PA NAACP has denounced the Musikfest concert taking place this Saturday (August 4) featuring Grammy Award winning, Oscar-nominated rapper/actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.
According to Esther Lee, president of the Bethlehem NAACP, Ludacris should not be a featured act on the Musikfest concert, which is being produced by a local organization, ArtsQuest.
“All I know is he’s a rapper, and rap music is lousy,” Lee said during a press conference outside of ArtsQuest’s headquarters yesterday (August 2), adding that Kevin Parks, president of ArtsQuest refused to listen to her pleas about Ludacris’ lyrics.
“This was a small local group of protesters, all of them were older,” Parks exclusively told AllHipHop.com. “It reminds me of the 1960’s when senior citizens were convinced that Rock&Roll was going to ruin the country. Musikfest is one of the most diverse concerts in the world. We have over 300 performers on 13 stages. Urban music has been programmed regularly. We also have a whole stage devoted to Hip-Hop and rap artists.”
Ludacris’ contract already stipulates that he cannot use profanity during the all-ages show, which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to the ten-day festival.
“I don’t believe that any artist is going to revise what he does for one venue,” Lee said of Ludacris’ appearance.
According to the Express-Times, Lee also took issue with the Bethlehem Housing Authority, which is providing students with free tickets to see Ludacris at the concert.
“The Bethlehem Area School District continually is trying to educate our youth, with student discipline being the greatest problem,” Lee said. “Then on the heels of all the district’s labor, Jeff Parks and Musikfest contracts with a personality who sings lyrics that add to parents’ woes.”
While Parks acknowledged that Lee had a right to her opinion, he stated that it would not change Musikfest’s overall mission.
“We recognize that Hip-Hop is an important part of some people’s culture. Our mission is to reach out to the entire community,” Parks told AllHipHop.com.
Tom Kelly, ArtsQuest’s chairman of the board, also dismissed Lee’s claims.
“For several years, we have offered urban music, including rap and Hip-Hop, at Musikfest,” Kelly said. “There are many people in the community for whom this is an important musical style. … The over 3,000 people who have paid to attend the Ludacris concert presumably know the artist and his music.”
Other major artists slated to perform during Musikfest include The Black Crowes, Lil’ Mama, B.B. King and Al Green, Meatloaf, The Moody Blues, Patti LaBelle, Joe Walsh, Big & Rich with “Hick-Hop” rapper Cowboy Troy and many others.
In related news, Ludacris has started work on his next album, which will be titled Theater of the Mind.