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Rapper Kamikaze vs. College Republicans at Mississippi’s Millsaps College

In Freedom of Speech, Iraq War, US Politics on October 5, 2006 at 10:08 am

I wanted to post on this the other day, but didn’t get a chance. Keeley’s post about freedom of speech at colleges and the activities of campus based Republican groups reminded me of it…

AllHipHop.com reports that rapper Kamikaze has gotten himself into trouble with the Young Republicans at Millsaps College in Mississippi, and as a result, banned from the school.

Kamikaze, one-half of rap group Crooked Lettaz with David Banner, was invited to speak and perform at Millsaps as part of the college’s sexual awareness week.

During an interlude in his set, the rapper made comments about current U.S. president George W. Bush, infuriating members of the audience.

“I prefaced it by saying ‘I know that a lot of you, or some of you, won’t agree with what I’m saying and you’re entitled to your opinion, as I am entitled to mine’,” Kamikaze told AllHipHop.com. “There is a real strong Young Republican contingent at this school.”

In his speech, the rapper accused Bush of pursuing oil and engaging America in a senseless war in Iraq, and also insisted that the government lied to start the war….
Kamikaze, whose latest single “U Sked” is featured on NBA Live 2007, added that his show was profanity-free, although some members of the crowd did yell ‘f**k Bush’ at one point.

According to him, however, members of the Young Republican Party later complained about the show. He received a letter from Millsaps College the next day, chastising him for his comments on President Bush.

In the letter, Student Body Association president Stephen Bradford Yakots stated, “While the students at the college rightfully supported sexual awareness week at the college…some were treated to no other than a tacky, senseless and an absolutely astonishing, explicit blasphemy of the sitting President of the United States; an act that represented the worst that Millsaps College could offer to its students and alumni that were present, wanting to enjoy an evening of the performing arts. The Student Body Association and the Socializing Activities and Performing for Students Board (S.A.P.S.) has no use for your shameful, adolescent and worthless view point of our leader and therefore will not be supporting any more visits made by you to our campus.”

Kamikaze described his general attitude about using his stage presence as a platform for speaking out on issues to Allhiphop.com as follows:

“And whenever we have a crowd in front of us, we address. If you have fans that you have that you can influence in one way or another, it’s an obligation for you to say something. We have to let folks know we aren’t up here to just rap. We are artists who are concerned with what’s going on in our communities. Anytime I do a show, I am speaking on social issues.”

I wish even more artists would feel this way. It’s unfortunate that one who does has to get banned for his actions.

This sheds a little complexity on the comments that Keeley made in his post about actions at Columbia and NYU. He said “To speak on private ground, such as a Columbia University, where student tuition pays a substatial portion of the overall bills, I believe students have the right to fight not to have someone on campus.” What happens when some students agree with the person being there and others don’t? What happens when we (meaning the writers on this blog) agree with the speaker instead of the action against the speaker?

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  1. […] Edit:  Don’t get it confused and think that I’m a Barbara Stresiand fan.  I just think it’s cool that she used this opportunity to speak out on what she feels.   Not everyone has the power to do it, reach a large audience, and get away with it. […]

  2. To set the record straight on this absurdity, Kamikaze was not banned from Millsaps College for making any anti-Bush statements. The president of the school’s student body, who is an ardent Republican, took offense to Kamikaze’s critique of the sitting President. The school’s student body then issued many statements supporting Kamikaze and inviting him back to campus.

  3. A message to Drew:
    Can you produce evidence of such statements? All we have to go on is the letter from the Student Body President, which appears as if he is speaking for the whole school. Also, are you saying you support Kamikaze over the decisions of your Student body President? Did he take this entire situation on himself without the support of the student body? I can only hope that this isn’t some PR attempt to make the school look better after you realized the impact the story has made on the internt. This post has been one of the most popular on this site, and the story has been published elsewhere as well.

  4. I can bag up the last comment. I am a student at Millsaps and the week after the performance Kamikaze did a statement in our paper as well as some folks from the student body. the consensus on campus is that Yakots had no authority to take position for all of us.

  5. Um….did you say PR attempt??? Yeah, right. I’m a student at Millsaps that was present at the concert and I support Kamikaze in his actions. He did not disrespect anyone with the use of profanity (like many have claimed) and he DID begin his speech saying he was only voicing his opinions. The SBA president took it upon himself to address Kamikaze. Many of the students in attendance agreed with what Kamikaze said; if they didnt, they left or remained silent. His statements did not become an issue until the SBA president wrote him a letter taking on the voice of the entire studenty body when it was only a few.

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