Oprah Winfrey says it’s time to stop the hullabaloo: She’s got no beef with hip-hop.
“I’m not opposed to rap,” the mogul said Saturday in Manhattan while celebrating L.A. Reid’s 50th birthday with Jay-Z, Young Jeezy, Babyface, Janet Jackson and Ciara.
The question of whether or not Winfrey likes hip-hop arose in recent weeks after Ludacris and Ice Cube alleged that they’ve been mistreated by her. Luda says some of his comments about hip-hop lyrics were unfairly edited out of Oprah’s show when he went on late last year to promote “Crash.” Ice Cube says Winfrey insulted him several years ago after inviting castmembers of “Barbershop” on her program but excluding him.
“Maybe she’s got a problem with hip-hop,” Ice Cube told FHM magazine recently. “She’s had damn rapists, child molesters and lying authors on her show. And if I’m not a rags-to-riches story for her, who is?”
50 Cent has also publicly scoffed at Oprah, saying she doesn’t make efforts to appeal to hip-hop fans.
“I don’t have an opinion, because I am my own person,” Oprah said on the birthday party’s red carpet. “I respect other people’s rights to do whatever they want to do in music and art and whatever. So I am my own person, they are their own people. I respect their rights.
“I am a woman who has worked very hard for my status in the world and as a human being,” she added. “I don’t want to be marginalized by music or any form of art. … I feel rap is a form of expression, as is jazz. I’m not opposed to rap. I’m opposed to being marginalized as a woman.”
Early last week, Ludacris, while promoting the basketball documentary “Heart of the Game,” said that contrary to rumors, he’s not calling for a boycott of Winfrey’s show. He said he would go back on the program if it were filmed live. He also said Oprah should invite a gaggle of MCs on at one time to have an intelligent discussion about hip-hop.