NEW YORK — Nas' very public disdain for Fox News continued Wednesday (July 23) when he teamed up with the Web site ColorOfChange.org to protest outside the network's Manhattan headquarters on Wednesday (July 23) and present a petition to the news organization. Color of Change gathered more than 600,000 signatures to try to curb what it considers biased reporting on Fox's part.
"The organization saw me as someone who could be a part of it, and they reached out," Nas said. "I was like, 'Hell yeah, I'm a part of it!' This is a network that's been going after rappers ... yet Bill O'Reilly uses the phrase 'lynching party' for a woman. That's the worst term I've ever heard to disrespect a woman, and he says it on television. And he doesn't like rappers? Wow."
The grassroots organization heard Nas' lyrical lambasting of Fox on the new song "Sly Fox" and asked him to help with its protest.
"Our main goal is to amplify the political voice of black Americans," said Color of Change spokesman Andre Banks. "We were founded after Hurricane Katrina to make sure that every American, regardless of race or class, is respected, protected and served. We're here today because we saw a real pattern on Fox, a pattern that not only targets the Obamas but uses the Obamas' race and other black Americans' race to cast them as outsiders in their own country."
Fox News released the following statement in response to the protest: "Fox News believes in all protesters exercising their right to free speech, including Nas, who has an album to promote."
All the activism caused quite a spectacle, and onlookers were inspired to engage in their own debates. As two men walked by, one said, "Apparently Fox News is a racist station." The guy's friend scoffed, insisting, "They're not racist." Another man walked by and said to the person on the other end of his cell phone, "They don't report the whole truth."
Upon his arrival, Nas stood in front of the press and protesters and gave a prepared speech. "We already knew that Fox is not a news network; they are a propaganda machine," he said. "But their racist attacks have gone way too far. Calling Michelle Obama 'Barack's baby mama' — tell me, is that acceptable? Is that racist? Bill O'Reilly saying a 'lynching party' for Michelle Obama might be legit if she has the wrong political opinions. Is that acceptable? Is that flat-out racist?
"Is this hate-mongering and fear-mongering at its worst?" he continued. " ... Fox's pattern of race-baiting and fear-mongering regularly focuses on black leaders, black institutions and ordinary black people. Like when they used the solemn occasion of Coretta Scott King's funeral to call black leaders racist — that's not acceptable. It's offensive to black Americans, and it's offensive to all Americans."
Nas' latest album, Untitled, sold 186,600 copies in its first week to claim the #1 spot on the Billboard albums chart. He said it was vindication in light of all the controversy that surrounded the album's original title.
"I know by throwing out this record, people would say a lot," Nas said. "People would say, 'I'm not buying that record.' And there were gonna be some people that say, 'Yeah, I'll check it out, out of curiosity.' I took that risk. We knew when we named the album what we named it, we knew. We weren't surprised that people were gonna say, 'We can't sell that album with that title.' It's bigger than the title. It's bigger than just stamping a title on the album. It's about the music. It's about being here right now and being more than words and being action."