Oprah Responds to Hip-Hop Criticism

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey is speaking

out about the recent criticism she has received from the Hip-Hop


In the past few weeks, rappers Ludacris and 50 Cent have openly

condemned Winfrey, who appeared on Ed Lover's Power 105.1 radio show

yesterday (May 11) to defend her side of the story.

"I listen to some Hip-Hop. I've been accused of not liking Hip-Hop and

that's just not true," she said. "I got a little 50 [Cent] in my iPod. I

really do. I like 'In Da Club.' Have you heard the beat to 'In Da Club'?

Love that, love Jay-Z, love Kanye, love Mary J. Mary J. is one of my


The backlash against Winfrey sparked last year after Ludacris appeared

on The Oprah Winfrey Show to promote his co-starring role in

the film Crash.

While discussing the movie's racial subject matter with the other cast

members, Winfrey interrogated Ludacris about his notoriously raunchy


The rapper addressed the incident in the May issue of GQ Magazine,

stating that Winfrey edited his comments out of the show.

He also revealed that he wasn't invited to appear on the show initially,

and that he felt Winfrey's questioning was inappropriate considering the

fact that he appeared on the show as an actor.

"What I got was that by having rappers on her show, she feels like she

is empowering in them. It was like being at someone's house who doesn't

really want you there," Ludacris told GQ. "I don't see why Chris Rock

and Dave Chappelle, who I am huge fans of, it's OK for them to go on

Oprah. They speak the same language as I do, but they do it through

comedy, so I guess that's acceptable to her."

Winfrey said she and Ludacris continued their conversation after the

show, as she attempted to explain why she put the rapper in the hot


"I said 'Look Ludacris, you are so smart. You are one of the brilliant

guys. I used to have the Klan on and the skinheads on and I looked out

in the audience and I saw contact being made between the guys in the

audience and the stage and they were like, 'Yeah get her, get her, get

her, Bud,'" she said. "At that moment, I was doing nobody any good [by]

putting those people on because I realized that that platform was being

seen and heard by a lot of people who weren't as smart as I am.

"My idea was, I want y'all to know that this is what's going on,"

Winfrey continued. "And I said to Ludacris, 'A lot of people who listen

to your music aren't as smart as you are. So they take some of that

stuff literally when you are just writing it for entertainment


Ludacris isn't the only rapper who has claimed to be offended by

Winfrey's actions, however.

50 Cent told the Associated Press that rappers are a rarity on her


"I think she caters to older white women." 50 said, adding that "Oprah's

audience is my audience's parents. So, I could care less about Oprah or

her show. I'm actually better off having friction with her."

While Winfrey expressed her love of Hip-Hop to Ed Lover, she also

decried the misogyny prevalent in the music and stressed that there are

many different aspects of Hip-Hop.

The media mogul said she personally felt the worldwide impact of rap

during an encounter with a security guard for African political leader

Nelson Mandela.

According to Winfrey, the guard greeted her group by saying "Hello


Winfrey explained to Ed Lover that the guard thought it was the norm

because they watched videos and listened to rap music.

Lover later told Winfrey that he would never use the word 'b***h'


Hip-Hop's power is undeniable, Winfrey acknowledged, as she noted the

music's growing influence years ago, as well as the accompanying


"Years and years ago, Quincy Jones and I had this conversation about the

evolution of Hip-Hop and what it really means to our culture," Winfrey

said. "Hip-Hop is like jazz and gospel music, evolved from the people, a

form of protest, a form of expression so you can't deny that, nor would

I try. But I do believe there needs to be awareness of who we are, how

we got here and what that means about staying here."