In a surprise move, the Universal Zulu Nation sent a letter addressed to Lee O’Denat the founder of WorldStarHipHop.com claiming that the site is not a representation of Hip Hop Culture by displaying violent videos or exploitative videos on the site. The letter does specifically mentions that Hip Hop has always been founded on the four principals of “Peace, Unity, Love and Havin’ Fun.”
Here’s the letter that the Zulu Nation sent:
On behalf of the thousands of members of the Universal Zulu Nation, of which I am Minister Of Information, I write you this letter in peace and hope these words find you in the best of health and spirits. Brother, we at UZN have the utmost respect and love for all who choose to take our Culture to new heights, and we thank you for your part in creating new media that preserves our culture. It is with great sadness that we bring to your attention the obvious ills of your site, WorldStarHipHop.com. Mister O’Denat, you are well aware, or should be well aware that many are viewing your site’s content as very graphic and extremely violent. Before you brush this off as just another person’s opinion of your site and the content you publish, please do not get it confused. This is not the case.
As I mentioned earlier, Mr. O’Denat, I am a representative of the Universal Zulu Nation, and we take our Culture quite serious. You are a Black man who has accomplished quite a lot without a formal education, and I’m quite sure when you dropped out of New York’s Grover Cleveland High School, you would never have imagined that you’d be as successful with your company, World Star, LLC. Doesn’t it bother you just a little that another Black man (that man being yourself), has “made it” out of the “ghetto”, only to display unnerving images and videos of young adults berating, belittling, and beating each other solely for the purpose of the enjoyment of who you are led to believe are “millions of Hip-Hoppers?”
Mr. O’Denat, the followers of your site are impressionable young men and women who “follow” you for a reason. As salacious as you may want your site to be, our youth are looking for answers and solutions to the many problems that plague our communities. The young people use your site as an outlet to escape the world they are living in, only to find that you place them right back at the starting point. Brother, you are well aware, or should be aware of the way Haitians are treated all over the world, including their own country. After all, Mr. O’Denat, you are Haitian, and you have even labeled yourself as a “Haitian Ghetto Nerd”, to gain God knows what kind of accolades. I am not Haitian, but I find it deplorable for a Haitian to associate such a dignified people with the “ghetto”, when Haitians come to this country to escape ghetto life.
Brother, I am sure you heard God speaking to you when the earthquakes in Haiti destroyed so many lives, and many of us di a fair share of work to help those in need. The repair for the damage done physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially will be an ongoing process that will take decades. But one of the brilliant brothers of Haitian decent is instead showering the world with what you call “the CNN of the Ghetto”. Brother, you are sadly mistaken if you would like the world to believe that hype. If you understand journalism 101, news is reported with two sides. Your excerpts of ghetto life, your lack of morality when accepting uploaded material, and your drive to maintain a site for the sole intent to destroy our Culture’s standing in these Americas is both uncouth and unacceptable by all of us at UZN. We are hereby separating ourselves and our followers from your site and what it supposedly stands for. Brother, if you were in fact the “CNN of the ghetto”, then you, as a former resident of Queens, NY should already know who Zulu is and what real Hip-Hop Culture is. Mr. O’Denat, there are many real Hip-Hoppers from Queens who laid the brick in the wall that you are trying to tear down.
You should already know about Run-DMC, Larry Smith, Salt-N-Pepa, Nas, MC Shan, LL Cool J and the founders of FUBU Clothing, to name a new. These men and women purposed to create a platform of expression for our Culture, and through the years, they have maintained and preserved that Culture. Mr. O’Denat, you are a Haitian, so you should know how serious Haitians are about their Culture. We are just as serious.
This is a new year, and the Universal Zulu Nation has begun a movement against anyone who is against us. Mr. O’Denat, either you are for Hip-Hop Culture, or you are not. There is no in-between, and no matter how many people have hyped you to believe that WorldStarHipHop is anything close to what this Culture is, they told you a lie. Mr. O’Denat, Hip-Hop Culture is FOUNDED on four spiritual principles. In case you haven’t already been schooled on what those principles are, they are: Peace, Unity, Love and Havin’ Fun. Mr. O’Denat, I pray that you do become a “CNN of the ghetto”, and that you someday get a camera and go to the ghetto yourself to record both sides of our neighborhoods. We still do have neighborhoods, brother.
Mr. O’Denat, can you imagine how much more hits WorldStarHipHop would have if you were intuitive enough to record rising Black political stars and activists, and some of the issues they discuss when trying to fix our problems nationwide? Or videos of Black political superstars like Barack and Michelle Obama. I would have loved to see the behind-the-scenes footage of the President at home with the wife and kids – on your website. I invite you to meet me in The Bronx, Boston, Virginia, The Carolinas, Chicago, DC, Maryland, Detroit, or any place that you feel more comfortable, so we may discuss the realities of “the ghetto” and how you can be better involved.
Mr. O’Denat, in closing I am asking you to remove the footage of the young man being forced to strip naked outside while people look on and another young man beats him with a belt while the camera man pours water on his fully naked body.
This is the link in question, Mr, O’Denat:
This is not the first time you have posted content that has been of this nature, and from the looks of it, this is probably Child Pornography. Therefore, I will forward the link and the video to the proper authorities to be sure that these young people are in fact of age and in full consent of being on your site in such a demeaning fashion. I’m unsure if this will bring about any charges, as there is a huge rumor on the streets that you are in fact working for the feds and are using your site as a cover up. But who knows? Mr. O’Denat, I again ask that you look into the fact that you and your site have misused our Culture’s name, committed fraud and falsely advertised your site as “Hip-Hop”. You have forced the hand of the Universal Zulu Nation to take further action should you continue to promote your “CNN of the ghetto” as “Hip-Hop”, and we are asking with all due respect that you include a disclaimer at the bottom of the front page of your website concerning your company and Hip-Hop Culture. A great footnote on your site should be:
“World Star Hip-Hop is in no way affiliated with real Hip-Hop Culture or its’ founders or the Universal Zulu Nation. This site solely for entertainment purposes, and does not promote Hip-Hop Culture”
Mr. O’Denat, you are free to use the above language, or you may use any language you see fit that parallels the language above. Please contact me at your earliest convenience, should you have any questions or concerns. I can be reached at email@example.com or 617-297-7423.
Quadeer “M.C. Spice” Shakur
Minister of Information
Universal Zulu Nation
Wow! Those are some pretty strong words from the founding organization of Hip Hop. However, Shakur does bring up some very good points in the letter that I want to touch on. Before I do, I want you to realize, that I’m not a member of the Zulu Nation. I don’t claim to be the end all-be all of Hip Hop Culture. I’m just a guy who loves it.
The biggest thing that stuck out to me that Shakur mentioned is how the site is exploiting people in the name of Hip Hop. Specifically minorities. This sort of theme has been present in rap for a while now. I mean, how did something based on having fun turn into the perversion that it is now? Sure there has always been boasting in rap music. It’s kind of what goes with the MCing and DJing element of Hip Hop. However, the exploiting has continued to higher and higher levels. Think about this for a moment.
The next point that Shakur struck a chord with me on was how World Star could get more hits if it promoted videos and articles of prominent Black leaders and activists who are making a difference in the world. As a whole, I think this is would be huge for every race! Here’s why I say this, I’m a white dude. I live in a predominantly African American area and the work that I do, I see a lot of minority children on a day to day basis. However, local news, radio, and internet mostly show stories targeting minorities in crimes or other bad news. (Every once in a while there will be a positive story and I’ll give the local media that. But it’s not often.) Most of the time the good news is showing “white folks.” So what do impressionable youth do? They look for examples of how to act by people that they can relate to. If they see examples of black people world wide treating each other poorly then the children are more likely going to be influenced by that. And to me, that’s terrible.
I see a lot of positive accomplishments from minorities every day and they are acknowledged very little. I watch as local schools in Charleston’s “ghettos” improve their test scores over all, or the school creates a special programs that helps the impoverished community they are in, or a child from the ghetto, against all odds, gets a scholarship to a university. Most of these things are never reported in the papers or in other media. However, when the negativity is reported, it affects all races. Blacks will see a bad example to follow. White folks will see a separation of races and will perceive minorities in whatever ignorant ways they can. (Racism is still a thing in the south and Charleston.) It’s a terrible cycle really.
So, what’s this rant leading to? Well, it all depends really. Personally, I don’t like seeing people degraded, regardless of the color of their skin. We’re all human, we all bleed red blood. Do I claim to know the struggle of being a minority in the United States? No I do not. I’m a white guy, who had a military upbringing, and a pretty stable life. Food, education, roof over my head, and hard working, caring parents provided all of it. I hadn’t had to struggle. However, when I see a minority student get accepted into a good college and the looks on their faces or see minorities do positive in the community and the lives that they have helped uplift, it makes me feel great! But I turn on the news, pick up the paper, or click on a news site. And I’m blasted with “Minority commits some crime.” I think, “Why the hell is this being reported and we’re turning criminal behavior into celebrity.” I don’t need to feel good. I’ve had a great upbringing and wonderful role models in my life. There are a ton of minority people who do great work that aren’t getting the promotion or the accolades they deserve.
It doesn’t make sense to promote negative behavior for a few clicks. I feel that it was a huge step for the Universal Zulu Nation to denounce that WorldStarHipHop does not represent Hip Hop Culture at all. I hope they continue this trend with other sites and maybe, the younger generations will see what Hip Hop is all about. (Maybe the Zulu Nation will start to denounce current music labeled as “Hip Hop, Rap, or Urbam.”) But the Zulu Nation won’t be able to do this on their own. I believe it will take a lot of us really. I know on my part, I’m going to continue to promote a positive message everywhere I go and to every person that I meet. I will also never promote anything negative on this site. It just won’t happen. I don’t believe in it.
The Universal Zulu Nation