A Former Close Friend Asks Sharpton: Why Is Your Book Being Financed by Lil Wayne?
Rev. Al Sharpton is a lot of things to a lot of people. For some, he’s a civil rights icon. For others, he’s a street hustler with smooth words and a talk show on MSNBC. He has been in the civil rights business for a very long time, and seems to treat it as a business. But some of his actions have drawn the ire of critics, including four pastors in Harlem who are determined to send him away and shut him out.
Recently, right after a public outcry led Mountain Dew to end their endorsement deal with the rapper Lil Wayne for comparing the face of Emmett Till to a woman’s v@gina, Sharpton met with Mountain Dew and the executives at Lil Wayne’s Cash Money records. After coming out of the meetings, not much had been resolved, but one announcement was forthcoming: Cash Money was going to be paying Al Sharpton to write a book.
Sharpton’s new book, “The Rejected Stone,” is being financed by the publishing arm of Cash Money Records, with Sharpton receiving money from the hands of an artist who compared Emmett Till’s face to a sexx organ. This led Chef Carl Redding, a former ally of Sharpton, to write an open letter questioning Sharpton’s motives.
I recently read that you had penned a book deal with Cash Money, the very company that touts Lil Wayne as one its most recognized artists. Though I wish I could say that I was surprised by this move, I am not. As one who has spent years publicly crusading against the harmful effect of misogynistic lyrics on our young people, it’s clear that your decision to cut a lucrative financial deal with those who propagate such destructive images in our community, is the latest example of your failed leadership. Dr. Martin Luther King, who you claim to emulate, is doing somersaults in his grave. As you know, I was drawn to your social justice work when I came to work for you in 1990. Fresh out of the US Marines, I temporarily put my culinary ambitions on hold to serve as your personal driver and then later, chief of staff.
Redding says that he was a founding member of the National Action Network, the group that is run by Rev. Sharpton. He says that he also helped to name the group. But he says that over the years, Sharpton has lost focus on what matters to the people and has turned his agenda toward selfish motives. He also says that he isn’t loyal to those who support him the most.
Sadly, you have lost your drive and have become disconnected to those who have supported you throughout the years (From the Tawana Brawley controversy, allegations that you were an FBI informant, the fire at Freddy’s in Harlem, just to name a couple of your life’s events). Those who were under your employ have been loyal to you even when you have not been loyal to them. They have remained silent in the face of your outrageous acts of self-aggrandizement. But I cannot and will not remain silent any longer.
He says that Sharpton has nothing in common with Dr. Martin Luther King, partnering with mafia-like figures and working with those who seek to harm the African American community. He says that Sharpton, by working with Lil Wayne, is taking “blood money” and putting it in his pocket.
I believe in my heart of heart that the Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. would not have traded 30 pieces of silver to the likes of the Little Wayne’s of our world today as you have done by signing a piece of book deal paper with Cash Money… So Rev Sharpton, in conclusion of my Open Letter to you, I am publicly imploring you to end your business relationship with Cash Money and return the “blood money” that you have accepted from those very people who continue to have the highest disregard for our women and our community…