Lupe Fiasco Kicked Off Stage: Was His Obama Protest Justified?

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It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Inauguration Day for the President Obama – truly an important day in American histsory.

So you KNOW some rapper has to mess things up. From RollingStone.com:

Lupe Fiasco was booted off an inaugural party stage last night in Washington after dedicating his 30-minute set to the song “Words I Never Said,” Politico reports. The rapper, performing at an event hosted by StartUp RockOn, repeated the lyrics, “Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist/ Gaza Strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say s***/ That’s why I ain’t vote for him, next one either,” for an usually long time and said he didn’t vote for Obama. He was told to move to the next song, but refused and was escorted off the stage.

Lupe fans shouldn’t be surprised. He’s been throwing shade at Obama for years now and has repeatedly reminded listeners that he doesn’t vote. Lupe’s mounting critics say that his outburst was wrong place, wrong time. But was it?

It reminds me of a situation down here in Birmingham. This morning, I was honored to attend the city’s annual MLK Unity Breakfast, which salutes advancement in black history and celebrates those who are moving us forward. This year’s event was met with a bit of controversy, as protesters picketed outside to criticize the closing of a hospital that has historically served African-Americans. As I left the event, a woman next to me said, “I understand the protest, but this is the wrong time.”

When IS the right time to protest? It’s ironic that on the day we celebrate a man who perfected peaceful protesting we roll our eyes at those who do. Whether you agree with message or not, those protesters peacefully made their presence known at a time when the city’s eyes would be upon them. They weren’t invasive but they were visible – and responsible.

If only Lupe was that smart.

I don’t agree with Lupe’s views but he has a right to state them. However, wandering around on stage repetitively mumbling to himself crosses over from informative to obnoxious. Watch for yourself.

Concert organizers have a released a statement saying that Lupe wasn’t Sandman’d off the stage because of his views, but because he essentially stopped the show. That’s the problem – Lupe made the protest about HIM, not his cause. On a day when we honor the power of peaceful protests, Lupe’s actions muddle that message.

We have to support free speech, whether we agree with the message or not.  But when that message is delivered in a silly and self-serving manner, credibility is destroyed. At this point, Lupe is as credible as Nicki Minaj’s British accent.

MLK would not be pleased. Thankfully, today’s inauguration is more than enough to make him proud.

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