Former Spelman prof Says Nelly is Lying and Can’t Blame the School for His Sister’s Passing

wpoepoppsIt appears that there are those who are openly questioning the recent remarks by the rapper Nelly about what happened years ago during a protest against his Tip Drill video, which took place at Spelman College.  A Bone Marrow donor drive concert was canceled after controversy swelled about a video during which Nelly ran a credit card through a woman’s backside.  During a recent interview with Marc Lamont Hill, Nelly complained about the incident and seemed to even imply that his sister’s passing was caused by the women at Spelman College.

Spelmanites aren’t taking this one sitting down.  A former Spelman professor, Dr. Jelani Cobb, took issue with Nelly’s remarks, making these statements on Facebook:

“Disappointed but not entirely surprised to see that eight years later Nelly is still lying about what happened at Spelman college when he planned a bone marrow drive. I was a professor there at the time and I taught several of the students who were involved in the protests over his Tip Drill video. The young women there did *not* cancel or prevent his bone marrow drive from happening. He chose to cancel the event after learning of the criticism of his video and the images of women within it. Many of the same students who were protesting his music were willing to participate in the drive and in exchange wanted him to participate in a discussion about why his video was problematic. The students also organized a bone marrow drive of their own after he pulled out. I personally know the pain of losing a sibling and empathize but that doesn’t give Nelly permission to lie about the past or place responsibility for his sister’s death at the front gates of Spelman College”

Dr. Boyce Watkins, who is an outspoken critic of what he calls “commercialized and ignorant hip-hop,” says that Dr. Cobb is right.

“Nelly appears to be rewriting history and lying on the women at Spelman, who committed one of the most courageous acts in hip-hop history,” says Dr. Watkins, author of “Commercialized Hip-Hop: The Gospel of Self-Destruction.”  “If anyone is to blame for what happened to Nelly’s sister, it’s him.   He and other artists need to take responsibility for their consistent disrespect of women.”

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  1. the fact that they brought it up was wrong in the first place. why bring up the argument about the video at that time. I acknowledge that Nelly could have handled things differently but as I know all to often picketing him was not in the best interest of his cause to help his sister. The same women still ascribe to the same type of misogyny today. HYPOCRITES!!!

  2. I don’t know what interview people listened to because I heard Nelly say that he blamed himself for bringing the wrong type of attention to himself when he was trying to organize a humanitarian event. His sister wouldn’t have been the only person to benefit from a bone marrow drive. I think the women of Spelman are courageous for demanding an answer and Nelly made the best choice at the time to cancel the event. In retrospect he wonders if that decision cost his sister her life. I don’t see it as finger pointing at Spelman.

  3. It’s funny how people were offended and wanted to have a discussion with Nelly, but don’t want to have a discussion with all the corporations that had dealings with slavery. What about the companies that treat blacks bad, but yet people still go shopping there. What about those Asian stores that follow you around the store, but you still buy hair from them. What about the fact that our black college athletes are exploited meanwhile, raking in millions for the school. Or talk about how you pay a college to teach you a ******** history about yourself. Would I do a video like that….no, but why is it we are quick to pop off on our own, but never check the puppetmasters…..that self hatred, always lurking. I’ll do one better, if spellman is an all female school started by two *******s….why do Christian women choose to attend the school??? At the end of the day, we stay divided over ********.. But hey most people don’t don’t do research, they just except the history that’s given to them, thus they keep hitting a glass ceiling….maybe if you humble yourself,step outside your box, and go to the core of the issue we can all get on the same page and move forward. FYI it’s funny how other groups have movements designed for them specifically, but we get something vague like civil rights …no African American rights movement, civil rights and women’s rights and gay rights, but how can blacks be apart of those groups when the ” civil rights” issue hasn’t been resolved??? See how they keep us divided…but then again they were already divided I guess that’s why those white ******* women started the school

  4. All he had to do was something so simple as have a discussion?

    First of all he’s not obligated to talk to them about his video.

    If they felt that strongly about his video they had a choice to simply not donate. But I think he canceled because they tried to use this event it seems as leverage to get him to talk to them about the video. And that rightfully probably turned him off and I would’ve canceled too

    They don’t know where his head was at, at the time. He wasn’t there for that and theyshouldve been smart enough to back off.

  5. Ms. White, thank you for the information and for your comments and reasoning. Unfortunately, there will be few people on this site that benefit from your explanation and insightful wisdom. You can comment until you’re blue in the face. There are some folk who will never have a clue.

  6. To wishuwould, don’t make stupid comments about something you really don’t know about. At the end of the day, the fault is on both sides. It’s the Spelman girls who decided to protest at the time’s fault because it was the wrong time to intimidate people (whether indirectly or not) by demonstrating at the drive, which has been said before. His sister’s life was more important than some ideology, and Spelman is the best place in the world for the type of match he was looking for because of the high concentration and diversity of black women. However, if a dialogue was wanted, he should’ve put his feelings aside did what was asked for, because at the end of the day, he was asking for something from their bodies, bone marrow. And, since he was invited into our home (C/O 2013 graduate), he should’ve done what was asked of him since he was the one asking of our services. I also watched the clip on Huffpost and understand his frustration about the potential match that could’ve been found for his sister. I’m with him on that, and I absolutely think it was the wrong time given that someone’s life hung in the balance. But ultimately, he has to take part of the blame for not doing something as simple as having a discussion. By the way, the vast majority of girls at Spelman probably agree with Nelly more than they do with those who protested. The girls who are seen as ‘feminists’ are actually a very, very small minority within the school. And no, most don’t object to listening and dancing to hip hop. So don’t brand an entire group of women before you actually know the story. It just affirms your vast ignorance of black women in general and Spelman women in particular.

    • Jasmine, the fault wasn’t on both sides. After Nelly cancelled the bone marrow drive, Spelman pulled together the pieces and held it anyway. And (partly because of the national attention coming from the controversy) it ended up being bigger than they planned. Lives were saved as a result of Spelman doing this. No, a match wasn’t found for his sister, but that was never a guarantee, and that wasn’t the result of a group of students protesting his music.

      As far as “intimidation” goes, some of the protestors participated by being donors, which is what they were planning to do whether Nelly was involved or not. One thing people fail to realize about us Spelman women (which I’m sure, being in the class of 2013, you can understand) is that we know how to multi-task. We can co-plan a bone marrow drive, sign up to participate too, and STILL call Nelly to task for his negative and derogatory portrayal of women. It was never either/or. These students, from the very beginning, made it very clear they were NOT protesting the drive. And yet these one-dimensional minded commentors who were NOT on campus when these events took place are quick to judge 1) without knowing the facts; and 2) without understanding we can walk, talk and chew gum at the same time.

      On behalf of those of us who were actually there when this happened (I was an employee at the time), I would encourage people to seek out the facts before passing judgment. I understand Nelly is emotional, but the more he talks about this the worse he makes himself look. Consider the fact that he didn’t even mention Spelman had a bone marrow drive after he decided to cancel. Lives were saved, yet he didn’t care enough about those lives to acknowledge this? He’s trying to garner sympathy by trying to make it appear as though his sister died as a result of his cancelled drive, but the TRUTH is that she died because there was no match from the larger drive Spelman put together. Two completely different narratives, huh?

  7. I’m with Nelly. That video with willing women and that drive for his sister is 2 different things. As usual, black women drop the ball and most are scared to call them on it. Those females made it a negative situation as black women do and I understood why Nelly had to cancel the drive. Whats crazy is black women were standing up for strippers who were being paid to perform in a video and did not stand up for Nelly’s sister who was dying. Who needed your support more? smh

    • I completely agree its the hypocrisy that women a whole do not want to admit that while their cause may be just it is their strategy that is wrong