Current members of the Last Poets found themselves addressing controversial comments from founding member Dahveed Nelson about hip hop and the murder of Trayvon Martin. Abiodun Oyewole, of the Last Poets, responded with a statement of his own through Allhiphop.com. Umar bin Hassan and Jalal Mansur Nuriddin released a statement yesterday responding to Dahveed’s suggestion that hip hop “collaborated” in the murder of Trayvon Martin. See the Hassan and Nuriddin statement below:
Recently, Dahveed Nelson, a founding member of the Last Poets, commented in an interview with Jason Whitlock that hip hop is the devil. Most troubling, he called hip hop a “collaborator” in the murder of Trayvon Martin.
Dahveed Nelson is a respected and honored member of the Last Poets but he speaks for himself. While it’s debatable that what passes as hip hop today is even hip hop, saying hip hop “collaborated” in Trayvon’s murder is not worthy of debate. The real collaborators are the “stand your ground law” in Florida and racist stereotypes that transform black children into black monsters.
Because the Poets are not some programmed machine that acts as one, thinks as one, and moves as one, some might mistake Dahveed’s comments to Whitlock as representative of the group. Since we started in 1968, we all have been independent thinkers. That’s what made us the unique group that we are. Until all of us old-heads and young-heads can sit down with one another or across from one another and reason with one another, we suspect there will be little we can do to protect the Trayvon Martins to come. And if we allow that to happen, then all of us must take the blame.
Umar bin Hassan and Jalal Mansur Nuriddin
The Last Poets