It Only Takes a Nation of Bernie Bros to Hold Us Back: Public Enemy Fires Flavor Flav for Fighting the Power

Illustration for article titled It Only Takes a Nation of Bernie Bros to Hold Us Back: Public Enemy Fires Flavor Flav for Fighting the Power
Photo: Rick Kern (Getty Images for Samsung)

They’ve survived a prolonged feud with Def Jam Records, rampant substance abuse and alcoholism, accusations of antisemitism and that whole Flavor of Love phenomenon, but it would appear that the straw that finally broke Public Enemy’s back is...Bernie Sanders?


As we reported this weekend, the iconic group announced its intention to perform on Sunday during a Bernie rally in Los Angeles and that’s when shit went left.

Apparently not feeling the Bern, Matthew H. Friedman, Flavor Flav’s lawyer, accused Bernie of sparking a “fake revolution” and “promoting a ‘false narrative’ that the group has endorsed his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination,” according to an open letter provided to Billboard.

“We have become aware that Flavor’s bandmate and Public Enemy co-creator, Chuck D, has endorsed Bernie Sanders’ candidacy for President and plans to perform at an upcoming Sanders Rally,” Friedman wrote. “While Chuck is certainly free to express his political views as he sees fit—his voice alone does not speak for Public Enemy.”

He continued, “To be clear Flav and, by extension, the Hall of Fame hip hop act Public Enemy with which his likeness and name have become synonymous has not endorsed any political candidate in this election cycle and any suggestion to the contrary is plainly untrue. The continued publicizing of this grossly misleading narrative is, at a minimum, careless and irresponsible if not intentionally misleading.”


To which Chuck D, clearly cool off of Flav’s bullshit—their last public spat came in 2017 when the greatest sidekick of all time sued his bandmate over unpaid royalties—succinctly replied: “Flavor chooses to dance for his money and not do benevolent work like this. He has a year to get his act together and get himself straight or he’s out.”

And in what has to be the shortest year ever, the 60-year-old hype man woke up Sunday morning to find out he was out of a job.


In a statement provided to HipHopDX, Public Enemy announced Flav’s departure:

“Public Enemy and Public Enemy Radio will be moving forward without Flavor Flav. ‘We thank him for his years of service and wish him well.”


Chuck D, however, issued his own statements on Twitter that were a bit more direct.

“... my last straw was long ago. It’s not about BERNIE with Flav... he don’t know the difference between BarrySanders or BernieSanders he don’t know either,” he tweeted on Sunday. “FLAV refused to support @Sankofa after @harrybelafonte inducted us. He don’t do that”


But Chuck wasn’t done there, as he fired off more ether.

“If there was a $bag, Flav would’ve been there front & center,” he continued on Twitter. “He will NOT do free benefit shows. Sued me in court the 1st time I let him back in. His ambulance lawyer sued me again on Friday & so now he stays home & better find REHAB.”


Chuck then went on to call Flav “ungrateful” and admitted that he created a spinoff group, Public Enemy Radio, to perform at benefits and fundraisers in order to avoid his co-founder’s “ridiculousness.”

As the news of Public Enemy’s split reverberated throughout the internet, Twitter became flooded with fans wondering how in the hell things got so bad between Chuck and Flav—or just getting jokes off.


After exploding onto the scene in the ’80s with anthems like “Don’t Believe the Hype” and “911 Is a Joke,” who would’ve ever thought that of all things it’d be Bernie Sanders that would end Public Enemy’s unprecedented reign, one that has spanned five decades?


Hopefully, they’re able to patch things up and continue to bring sociopolitical awareness to the people, because I’d hate to see them go out like Pete Buttigieg.

(What? Too soon?)

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.


I have mixed feelings about this. No one should be forced to endorse someone because the band leader said so. On the other hand since Chuck D. OWNS the name Public Enemy and is the band leader he can offer their service to play but if someone doesn’t want to participate, let them sit it out. I think stuff has been brewing between them for a while and Flav, took this opportunity to act out, if everything was good between them this would have been handled behind closed doors.