Saturday, February 21, 2009

John Legend responds to NY Post cartoon

R&B singer John Legend has blasted a New York Post cartoon as racist in an angry letter to the editor.

In the Feb. 19 New York Post, an editorial cartoon compared the author of the federal stimulus bill to the crazed chimpanzee shot and killed by police a few days earlier after attacking a woman in Stamford, Conn.

The singer responded to the cartoon with the following open letter to the Post:

Dear Editor:

I'm trying to understand what possible motivation you may have had for publishing that vile cartoon depicting the shooting of the chimpanzee that went crazy. I guess you thought it would be funny to suggest that whomever was responsible for writing the Economic Recovery legislation must have the intelligence and judgment of a deranged, violent chimpanzee, and should be shot to protect the larger community. Really? Did it occur to you that this suggestion would imply a connection between President Barack Obama and the deranged chimpanzee? Did it occur to you that our president has been receiving death threats since early in his candidacy? Did it occur to you that blacks have historically been compared to various apes as a way of racist insult and mockery? Did you intend to invoke these painful themes when you printed the cartoon?

If that's not what you intended, then it was stupid and willfully ignorant of you not to connect these easily connectable dots. If it is what you intended, then you obviously wanted to be grossly provocative, racist and offensive to the sensibilities of most reasonable Americans. Either way, you should not have printed this cartoon, and the fact that you did is truly reprehensible. I can't imagine what possible justification you have for this. I've read your lame statement in response to the outrage you provoked. Shame on you for dodging the real issue and then using the letter as an opportunity to attack Rev. Sharpton. This is not about Rev. Sharpton. It's about the cartoon being blatantly racist and offensive.

I believe in freedom of speech, and you have every right to print what you want. But freedom of speech still comes with responsibilities and consequences. You are responsible for printing this cartoon, and I hope you experience some real consequences for it. I'm personally boycotting your paper and won't do any interviews with any of your reporters, and I encourage all of my colleagues in the entertainment business to do so as well. I implore your advertisers to seriously reconsider their business relationships with you as well.

You should print an apology in your paper acknowledging that this cartoon was ignorant, offensive and racist and should not have been printed.

I'm well aware of our country's history of racism and violence, but I truly believe we are better than this filth. As we attempt to rise above our difficult past and look toward a better future, we don't need the New York Post to resurrect the images of Jim Crow to deride the new administration and put black folks in our place. Please feel free to criticize and honestly evaluate our new president, but do so without the incendiary images and rhetoric.


John Legend


Anonymous said...

New York Post Cartoonist Sean Delonas drew police having shot dead a chimp, saying "they'll have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill". These angry white males need universal health care so they can see a psychistrist. We also need to psychaitrically regulate the preachers and teachers who influenced such creatures. That is what homeland security is really about.

onLocation.......Phoenix, Arizona said...

Truer words were never written. These angry white males, and some of their sycophant female admirers, feel threatened by anything done by a person of color. It does not matter what the field is....... sports, politics, education, business, or religion, these psychologically challenged people always seem to also do what President Obama said they do in the campaign. They run to their guns and religion for solace. Especially their guns because they do not appear to receive any benefit from their religion.

Lydia said...

John Legend's letter was dead-on. The cartoon is typical of any journalism and communication
property owned by Rupert Murdoch. The
New York Post probably will not reply to his letter. The Post will never intellectually take on anyone
whom they feel has brain. In all of this financial mess, don't believe that News Corp is not leveraged
into one of those big banks. It's probably Citi. When he overpaid for the Annenberg Triangle properties, he almost took Citi down then. They had to rework his loan and their own books to allow the purchase.
I bet he is still leveraged to the hilt with them. I don't recall seeing News Corp reports being mentioned.