Public Enemy Fire Flavor Flav After Bernie Sanders Rally Spat
“Public Enemy and Public Enemy Radio will be moving forward without Flavor Flav. We thank him for his years of service and wish him well”
One of the most iconic groups in not only rap but any genre have split asunder. Public Enemy have sacked their hype man, the charismatic Flavor Flav over his spat with Bernie Sanders over the use of the group’s music in his election campaign.
The group have announced they are permanently “moving forward” without him. The abrupt dismissal comes just two days after the rapper sent a cease and desist letter to Sanders
“Public Enemy and Public Enemy Radio will be moving forward without Flavor Flav,” the hip-hop legends said in a brief statement Sunday. “We thank him for his years of service and wish him well.”
Flavor Flav’s letter, sent to Sanders Friday by Flavor Flav’s lawyer Matthew Friedman, accused the campaign of using the hypeman’s “unauthorized likeness, image and trademarked clock” to promote the rally, even though Flavor Flav “has not endorsed any political candidate.”
“While Chuck is certainly free to express his political view as he sees fit — his voice alone does not speak for Public Enemy,” the letter states. “The planned performance will only be Chuck D of Public Enemy, it will not be a performance by Public Enemy. Those who truly know what Public Enemy stands for know what time it is. There is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav.
“Flav … has not endorsed any political candidate in this election cycle. … The continued publicizing of this grossly misleading narrative is, at a minimum, careless and irresponsible if not intentionally misleading,” Friedman added in the letter. “It is unfortunate that a political campaign would be so careless with the artistic integrity of such iconoclastic figures in American culture.”
In a handwritten note at the bottom of the cease-and-desist, Flavor Flav wrote to Sanders, “Hey Bernie, don’t do this.”
Prior to Flavor Flav’s firing — and after the hypeman accused Sanders of using his “unauthorized likeness, image and trademarked clock” to promote the rally — Chuck D said of his bandmate of more than three decades, “Flavor chooses to dance for his money and not do benevolent work like this. He has a year to get his act together and get himself straight or he’s out.”
A lawyer for Chuck D 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 originally drew the logo himself in the mid-80s, is also the creative visionary and the group’s primary songwriter, having written Flavor’s most memorable lines.”
Taking to Twitter Sunday afternoon, Chuck D clarified that the Sanders issue was not the only reason the group fired the hypeman. “My last straw was long ago,” he wrote. “It’s not about BERNIE with Flav… he don’t know the difference between [former NFL running back] Barry Sanders or Bernie Sanders. He don’t know either. FLAV refused to support Sankofa after Harry Belafonte inducted us. He don’t do that.” Sankofa, a grassroots organization founded by Belafonte, aims to, as they note on their site, “focus on issues of injustice that disproportionately affect the disenfranchised, the oppressed, and the underserved, which left unaddressed will continue to impact the lives of too many individuals and remain a scar on our nation’s moral character.”