Reverend Al Sharpton has been criticized for taking a publishing deal with Cash Money, a label with whom he's feuded with in the past.
As we reported at the beginning of June, Al Sharpton plans to release a memoir, called "The Reject Stone," via Cash Money Content in the Fall. When the news arrived, many people were surprised because of the known beef between Sharpton and the YMCMB crew. Sharpton has spoken out against Lil Wayne in the past, for his use of the word 'bitch' and the n-word, and more recently, he was the one who organized the sit down with Emmett Till's family and Mountain Dew, following the controversy surrounding Weezy's line.
Since the announcement critics have come forward, blasting Sharpton for taking the deal with Cash Money. One in particular is Carl Redding, a chef and former associate of Rev. Sharpton. In an open letter, Redding asked the Reverend to return what he calls "blood money" to Birdman.
"I recently read that you had penned a book deal with Cash Money, the very company that touts Lil Wayne as one its most recognized artists. Though I wish I could say that I was surprised by this move, I am not. As one who has spent years publicly crusading against the harmful effect of misogynistic lyrics on our young people, it’s clear that your decision to cut a lucrative financial deal with those who propagate such destructive images in our community, is the latest example of your failed leadership. Dr. Martin Luther King, who you claim to emulate, is doing somersaults in his grave," the letter reads.
Redding went on, "Your decision to cooperate and do business with a record label that routinely calls black women outside of their name, is deeply problematic and begs the question: where is your commitment to the black community?"
In closing out his letter, Redding writes, "So Rev Sharpton, in conclusion of my Open Letter to you, I am publicly imploring you to end your business relationship with Cash Money and return the “blood money” that you have accepted from those very people who continue to have the highest disregard for our women and our community…"
Read the full letter here. Do you think Sharpton is being hypocritical?
[UPDATE: Sharpton's Camp Responds To Criticism]
After receiving further criticism from Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and The Huffington Post, Tamika D. Mallory, the executive director of Sharpton's National Action Network, has issued a formal statement concerning his signing with Cash Money Content.
"As National Executive Director of National Action Network (NAN) and head of the Decency Initiative, I find it a blatant contradiction that Bill O’Reilly would question our President, Rev. Al Sharpton writing a book on the evolution of his principles and ideas, detailing among other things why he is against certain lyrics in hip-hop and has stopped himself from using specific words," stated Mallory. "Being published by Simon & Schuster in a joint venture with the parent company Cash Money Content, which itself has a relationship with the parent company of Cash Money Records, I find Mr. O’Reilly’s assertions a contradiction because I sit on the Diversity Council of News Corp that owns Fox News and the New York Post in the seat designated for National Action Network. Both of these media are frequent, consistent critics of Rev. Sharpton and NAN, and have done things that many of us disagree with in terms of aspirations of the Black community."
Mallory argued that it is possible to be affiliated with an organization even if you don't agree with all of its policies. "News Corp also continues to support National Action Network functions and events financially, so if Rev. Sharpton can say we disagree with the News Corp entity, but should be open to dialogue, by what standards might he say to Simon & Schuster, that we are not open to doing business with Cash Money, especially since he can express his problems with lyrics and language in the book? Either we have one standard or not."
"Secondly, I was in the meeting between Pepsi executives, the family of Emmett Till and Rev. Sharpton. There was nobody from Cash Money in that meeting because Pepsi had severed all ties with Lil’ Wayne, and Cash Money and had done so at the urging of both the Till family and Rev. Sharpton. The purpose of the meeting was for Pepsi to assure the family and Rev. Sharpton they were not going to reinstate the Lil’ Wayne deal. To insinuate that there was some deal in the meeting is a blatant lie. The fact remains that Pepsi had still withdrawn any relationship with Lil’ Wayne, so what would there be a deal around? The book deal with Simon & Schuster and Cash Money Content was signed through Massenburg Media and Rev. Sharpton last year and the book was in publication even before the Lil’ Wayne/Pepsi controversy occurred. The evidence of that is that the galleys are already out. Finally, as Rev. Sharpton often says, “We can have different opinions, but we can not have different facts."
O'Reilly criticized Sharpton for being "in business with people who put out entertainment that his harmful to children... [and] allowing a company that harms black children to distribute his book."