Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav Slams Bernie Sanders for ‘Deceptive Marketing,’ But Chuck D Has Papers On The Legendary Hip Hop Group

 Rappers Chuck D (L) and Flavor Flav of Public Enemy are not on the same page regarding the group’s support of Senator Bernie Sanders.
Rappers Chuck D (L) and Flavor Flav of Public Enemy are not on the same page regarding the group’s support of Senator Bernie Sanders.
Photo: Getty Images

You just “Can’t Truss It.”

Although Bernie Sanders’ camp has promoted that Public Enemy will perform at a rally in Los Angeles, one of the group’s most prominent members is trying to shut ‘em down.


According to Spin, the legendary hip hop group’s co-founder Flavor Flav slapped the senator from Vermont with a cease-and-desist letter for claiming that Public Enemy would be performing—arguing that only Chuck D will take the stage at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

“Sanders has promised to ‘Fight the Power’ with hip hop icons Public Enemy — but this Rap Icon will not be performing at the Sanders Rally,” read the letter from Flav’s lawyer, Matthew H. Friedman, obtained by the magazine.

“To be clear Flav and, by extension, the [Rock and Roll] 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 letter continued.

The 60-year-old Long Island native, who is known as one of hip-hop’s ultimate hype men, also charged that the Sanders campaign’s promotional materials included “the unauthorized use of his likeness, image and trademarked clock,” referring to the giant timepieces that have become his signature persona.

“Sanders claims to represent everyman not the man yet his grossly irresponsible handling of Chuck’s endorsement threatens to divide Public Enemy and, in so doing, forever silence one of our nation’s loudest and most enduring voices for social change,” the message added.


“If Bernie allows this deceptive marketing to continue without clearly correcting the messaging … Senator Sanders will himself have played a part in whitewashing a key chapter in American History,” the letter continued of the 78-year-old “Democratic socialist,” who is gunning for the party’s nomination to go against Trump in November.

“Bernie, his name is Flavor Flav and he does NOT approve your message!”

Flavor Flav, born William Drayton, made it clear that he had no problem with Chuck D using his voice to support a political party, but said it is not his place to speak for all of the “Fight the Power” performers, who recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award Grammy Award.


“While Chuck is certainly free to express his political views as he sees fithis voice alone does not speak for Public Enemy,” the letter stated.

“Flav is reaching out, not in the spirit of division, but for the sake of unity in the hope of preserving the integrity of the Public Enemy Movement and the faith and trust his millions of fans around the world have placed in him,” it continued.


But Chuck D isn’t taking Flavor Flav’s antics in stride.

In fact, he aired his partner-in-rhyme out to the website HipHopDX.

“Flavor chooses to dance for his money and not do benevolent work like this,” he wrote in a statement. “He has a year to get his act together and get himself straight or he’s out.”


And there’s the matter of who owns what!!!

“From a legal standpoint, Chuck could perform as Public Enemy if he ever wanted to; he is the sole owner of the Public Enemy trademark,” Chuck D’s attorney told the outlet.


“He originally drew the logo himself in the mid-80’s, is also the creative visionary and the group’s primary songwriter, having written Flavor’s most memorable lines,” he continued.



The groundbreaking act’s spiritual successor group, Public Enemy Radio, is collectively made up of longtime turntablist DJ Lord, rapper Jahi and Chuck D, born Carlton Ridenhour.


All three reportedly were scheduled to perform for Sanders on Sunday.

On Instagram, Chuck D put the bass in your face and rationalized that supporting Sanders beats the alternative, referring to Poor POTUS as the notorious Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.


“It’s no longer tolerable to just pontificate and not do shit,” he wrote. “People gotta realize, whoever they vote for isn’t going to be Jesus. They should recognize we have a wannabe Hitler in the White House.”




The Thugnificent Pangaean

1. Not one knowledgeable hip-hop fan in the US has ever doubted that Chuck D was a deeply committed political activist. Particularly, the group’s hype man Flavor himself. Even his fluffiest songs, like Kool Thing, are deep in to liberation politics.

2. Chuck’s has the civil/corporate standing, then good for him.

Countless minority-started acts get screwed over the years to faceless corporate music contracts, but Chuck keeps his control in his hand, and uses for what he deems as a dire political drive.

3. All said, this is one of the harshest flex and harshest fuck you’s I have read in a long time:

“Flavor chooses to dance for his money* and not do benevolent work like this,” he wrote in a statement. “He has a year to get his act together and get himself straight or he’s out.”

* - Mister Bojangles on Line One.