August 28, 2002


LUDACRIS LOSES PEPSI'S BIZ-NASS: I thought that anti-Ashanti petition story was odd enough, but now we have this: the rapper Ludacris has been dismissed from his endorsement deal with Pepsi after numerous complaints from consumers who were angry about his lyrical content. The complaints were a direct outgrowth of a campaign by Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, who argued on his show early this week that Ludacris' song "Area Codes" is immoral and sexist because of its depiction of women as "ho's," as in, "I've got ho's in different Area Codes." O'Reilly then told his viewers to call Pepsi and complain and like the ignorant sheep they are, they went ahead and did just that.
The Ludacris ads, which of course contained no objectionable language or content whatsoever, were part of an initative to further market Pepsi (specifically its new product, Pepsi Blue) to African-Americans; other ads feature the comic Bernie Mac. So a campaign to use black artists to market a product to black consumers has be interrupted and scrapped because Bill O'Reilly and his army of reactionary white people don't like it? I watched O'Reilly on an almost daily basis for two years, and he has proven (among other things) to have no grasp whatsoever of popular culture, as well as a consistant and disturbing disdain for black people. And it's nice that he's concerned that Ludacris is disrespecting women- so now O'Reilly is a feminist all of a sudden?
If O'Reilly knew a thing about any pop culture produced after 1962, he'd know that Ludacris is one of the most talented young artists (let alone rappers) out there today- his lyrics and delivery are especially sharp, and the song O'Reilly decided to rip on, "Area Codes," may very well have been the best single released by anyone in 2001. No less an authority than Bruce Springsteen recently told Rolling Stone that Luda is his "favorite new rapper," and even PTI co-host Tony Kornheiser (himself as much as an old fogey as O'Reilly) has said on more than one occasion that he's a fan.
As Bob Dylan said, "don't criticize what you can't understand." Do you think Bill O'Reilly has ever heard a single song by Ludacris? Have any of his viewers who called Pepsi to compain ever listened to rap in their lives? I'd rate the likelihood of either of those at somewhere between "probably not" and "not fucking likely."

Posted by Stephen Silver at August 28, 2002 11:43 PM
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