Legendary hip hop group Public Enemy announced Sunday that it will be “moving forward” without Flavor Flav, its hype man of some 35 years, after a disagreement over a Bernie Sanders rally.
Flavor Flav had clashed with Chuck D, the group’s other remaining founding member, over the latter’s performance at a Sanders rally in Los Angeles Sunday evening with his offshoot group Public Enemy Radio.
Flavor Flav sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Sanders campaign on Friday, arguing that the rally performance would give a “misleading” and “irresponsible” impression that Public Enemy as a whole endorsed the candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Flavor Flav said he “had not endorsed any political candidate.”
In a series of tweets Sunday, Chuck D told fans he was a “political artist” known for “[making himself] heard.”
The political rift appears to have put a permanent end to the collaboration between Chuck D and Flavor Flav, who were founding members of Public Enemy in the mid 1980’s and became known for their groundbreaking lyrics tackling racial inequality and police brutality. It is the latest in a series of public disputes between the two artists, including a lawsuit brought by Flavor Flav against Chuck D in 2017 alleging he was owed thousands of dollars in Public Enemy profits.
“Public Enemy and Public Enemy Radio will be moving forward without Flavor Flav,” representatives of Public Enemy said in a statement provided to Rolling Stone on Sunday. “We thank him for his years of service and wish him well.”
Flavor Flav’s lawyer responded to the announcement in a statement sent to USA Today: “Sanders claims to represent ‘everyman’ not ‘the man’ yet his grossly irresponsible handling of Chuck’s endorsement threatens to divide Public Enemy and, in doing so, forever silences one of our nation’s loudest and most enduring voices for social change.”
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