In an open letter to Lee “Q” O’Denat founder of WorldStarHipHop.com, members of the hip-hop awareness group The Universal Zulu Nation headed by hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa addresed some of the many issues they have with the website in the way it portray’s hip hop culture and the exploitation of those individuals who are featured in many of the violent videos on the popular website that is ranked as 247th in site traffic in the United States and 983rd for worldwide traffic, according to Alexa.
The Zulu Nation says World Star does not rep hip-hop culture at all, and here’s the open letter in full that was sent to it’s founder this week.
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.