Earlier this year, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama drew criticism from conservative pundits for enjoying the funds raised by record exec L.A. Reid, working with Ludacris on AIDS prevention in Chicago, and accepting donations from music industry giant David Geffen because he funds Snoop Dogg’s music. In the new issue of VIBE Magazine, Obama addresses the hip-hop situation as well as various other topics that have popped up around his campaign.
“A lot of this arose around the issue of Imus, and I think a lot of people tried to play political football with the issue, instead of listening to what I had really said,” Obama told VIBE scribe Jeff Chang. “I was criticized by some in the hip-hop community as if I had targeted them. And I was criticized by more conservative or more mainstream commentators for quote-unquote ‘being hypocritical.’ The truth is I stand by exactly what I said, which was that the language, the degrading comments about women that Imus said is language that we hear not just on the radio, not just in music. We hear it on television, we hear it in our barber shops, we hear it in the streets, we say it among our friends, and we are all complicit in, I think, promoting a set of stereotypes or views about women and minorities that are damaging. We ourselves perpetrate this, and we all have to take responsibility for that. But the fact is that we’ve got a culture generally – not just hip-hop, but a culture generally that is dynamic and exciting and rich and sometimes negative and coarse and not particularly enlightening. We’re all consumers of this culture and there’s nothing wrong with us sort of saying, ‘You know what? Some hip-hop is terrific and powerful and some of it is junk.’ Just like country music – some of it is interesting and powerful and some of it is junk, and the same is true of any musical genre, the same is true of movies, the same is true of TV.”
You can check out the interview in its entirety when the new issue of VIBE Magazine hits stands Wednesday, August 8.