Disclaimer: ZRockR Magazine is not endorsing any Presidential candidate. This article is purely bringing coverage of the evening's events and performers such as Public Enemy.
It's no secret that this is one of the biggest presidential races the
United states has ever seen. Every election is just as important as the
last, but as times are changing, millions are trying to figure out their
political stance and who they want to vote for on super Tuesday.
The youth in particular have taken huge action to support Sanders and
his campaign to presidency. The Washington Post has claimed Bernie
Sanders to be the next “The Reagan of the left”. For the youth, he's
seen as the new revolution for change.
On March 1st, Sanders held a rally at The Los Angeles Convention Center
where 17,000 attendees came out. The majority being youth and of color.
Hundreds of people marched in the streets chanting for change; while
activists and volunteers take action to register new voters. Lines
completely wrapped around the convention center with thousands waiting
inside and out.
While walking around, I asked 26 year old, Brandon G. why he was at this rally and what future he sees with Sanders. Brandon responded, “I'm attending the rally because I want to support the only Democratic candidate that I feel has been on the right side of history for 40+ years. I know he will fight for me and my family. The future I see with “President” Bernie Sanders is a country where everyone has a fair chance at life. Where we have a country that takes care of all it's people, not just the wealthy”. Waves of emotions were all in the air leading up to the doors of the convention center opening. This however, was not the only thing leading up to this day.
Public Enemy News & Flavor Flav Fall Out.
About a week before the rally, Chuck D of Public Enemy announced his
endorsement of Bernie Sanders under Public Enemy's name. Flyers began
appearing all over social media of Sanders standing with his fist in the
air with a statement saying, “Fight The Power”. This of course got the attention of many due to the flyers saying, +Public Enemy Radio.
Public Enemy Radio is an offshoot group consisting of Chuck D, DR Lord,
Jahi and the S1Ws.
During this time, fans began spreading the news like wildfire.
After the announcement was made public and the hype was big, Flavor Flav sent Sanders a cease and desist letter. He claimed that Sanders campaign was claiming false facts of the entire group supporting him. The lawyer of
Flavor Flav, Matthew Friedman wrote, “The continued publicizing of this
grossly misleading narrative is, at a minimum, careless and irresponsible if not intentionally misleading”. With accusations of “unauthorized likeness, image and trademarked clock” to promote the rally. Flavor Flav at this time has not endorsed any political candidates from what his lawyer has stated.
His letter then states, “While Chuck is certainly free to express his political view as he sees fit… his voice alone does not speak for Public Enemy”. Flavor Flav then ends the letter in a handwritten note at the end, “Hey Bernie, don't do this.” From an outsider's point of view, I understood Flavor Flav’s outlash of this performance, until I followed up with more information being released by Chuck D.
Response from Chuck D.
Chuck D’s lawyer later added, “From a legal standpoint, Chuck could
perform as Public Enemy if he ever wanted to; he is the sole owner of
the Public Enemy trademark….. [he, Chuck D] is also the creative
visionary and the group’s primary songwriter, having written Flavor’s
most memorable lines”.
There's been sightings of fans sitting in the middle of the drama picking
sides between Flav and Chuck on Twitter and Instagram. Fans claiming
that “the old” Public Enemy would never support Sanders and that this
has never been their message; while fans supporting Chuck's decision have
all urged people to see that this is 2020 and the world is different
Chuck D and Public Enemy Radio continued out with their original plans
to perform at the rally while firing Flavor Flav from Public Enemy.
Leading up to the performance of Public Enemy, Chilean female rapper,
Ana Tijoux opened up the rally. Between songs, she spoke powerful
messages in English and Spanish asking, “To the democrats, please if
tomorrow you are president, please we don't want more wars. Not in the
name of any economy”. As she raised a fist to the sky leaving attendees
to cheer in agreement.
Numerous guests attended the event such as, Sarah Silverman (guest
speaker), Dick Van Dyke (guest speaker), and official representatives
such as the California Union Nurse Association and more.
Bernie Sanders took the stage with wife, Jane Sanders, in hand after the
appearance of Dick Van Dyke. As his speech came to an end, he introduced
Public Enemy Radio to the cheering audience with this statement, “It is
my distinct honor to welcome to the stage, one of the original hip-hop
groups… A group which has spoken truth to power for decades [Public
Enemy]” as Sanders embraced Chuck D in a hug.
As the DJ booth rolled across the stage, Chuck D cracked jokes with the
audience, “They say Bernie’s up there in age… Hey, I’m 59… I’m an
old-ass rapper… But it ain’t about us. It’s about y’all”.
Public Enemy Radio was scheduled to perform for 30 minutes on stage. In
between songs, Chuck D took to the mic to persuade voters on why it's
important to vote. He says, “Even if this man here tonight ain’t the
dude, use your common sense,” he said. “This is 2020, the decade of
supposedly clear vision and hindsight, there’s going to be a lot of
cataracts in this fucking decade. I know damn well there ain’t gonna be
no messiah Jesus in the White House of the United States of America. But
you know what? I certainly can recognize a motherfucking Hitler”.
During their time on stage, they performed songs like, “Bring the
Noise,” “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” and “Shut ‘Em Down” before
finishing with their signature hit “Fight the Power.”
As the rally came to an end, the drama between Flavor Flav and Chuck D
was not over.
The Rally Ends, But the Feud Continues.
Flavor Flav took to Twitter saying, “You wanna destroy something we’ve
built over 35 years OVER POLITICS???” former Public Enemy member says.
“All because I don’t wanna endorse a candidate. I’m very disappointed in
you and your decisions right now, Chuck”.
Public Enemy then responded on Instagram with a copy statement signed by all members.
Public Enemy clarified that the group “did not part ways
with Flavor Flav over his political views.” That, “Flavor Flav has been
on suspension since 2016 when he was MIA from the Harry Belafonte
benefit in Atlanta, Georgia,” reads a joint statement signed by members
Chuck D, DJ Lord, Jahi, James Bomb and Pop Diesel.
“That was the last
straw for the group. He had previously missed numerous live gigs from
Glastonbury to Canada, album recording sessions and photo shoots. He
always chose to party over work.” They continued, “Public Enemy Radio
toured Europe and co-headlined with the Wu-Tang Clan in May 2019 without Flavor. “They have also done numerous benefit shows without Flavor … While Public Enemy Radio was moving forward, Flavor Flav was starring on the reality show Growing Up Hip-Hop New York, where an episode featured his children discussing an intervention and putting him into rehab … It’s time to move on and everyone wishes Flavor well.”
At this time, we wish Flavor Flav and Public Enemy a friendly departure
from one another as we wait and see as to what's going to come from
On behalf of myself (Nikkie Marie) and as a rep of ZRockR in the field,
I'd like to say that we were there strictly for documentation of Public
Enemy and the musical endorsements following the Sanders Campaign.
Everything said above was in no favor of any political candidate and
PHOTO CREDIT: All photos by Nikkie Marie for ZRockR Magazine, All Rights Reserved.