MTV has censored the video to Public Enemy’s new single, “Gotta Give The Peeps What They Need,” refusing to play it until the band agrees to delete certain lyrics that the music network deems objectionable. According to an MTV executive, the lyrics in question are not foul language or misogynistic, but are actually a very brief political statement. As a result, MTV has asked the rap group to omit the word “free” from the phrase “free Mumia.”
The lyrics refer to Mumia Abu-Jamal, an award-winning journalist and former Black Panther who is currently in prison after being convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer. Abu-Jamal supporters, including Amnesty International, the California AFL–CIO, and the city council of Paris, France (who named him an honorary citizen) claim that he may in fact be innocent, as well as the victim of an unfair trial.
Public Enemy stands by their lyrics, as well as their political position, and have declined to make the changes. “I do art and songs to provoke and not to be a joke,” says founding member Chuck D.
“Gotta Give The Peeps What They Need” is the first single off of Public Enemy’s new album, Revolverlution, and is currently a Top 10 hit at specialty radio. Known for their politically-charged lyrics, the group has always been singled out by the media, who say Revolverlution “tackles topics old and new without missing a beat” (Los Angeles Times), and “with the Middle East at war, the economy in turmoil and another Bush in the driver’s seat, America once again needs its Public Enemy.” (Rolling Stone magazine).
The video can be seen in its entirety at: www.rapstation.com/rapstation_tv
More info about Public Enemy at: www.publicenemy.com