Industry Execs Discuss Lyrics; UMG Exits Sharpton Event
April 19, 2007 at 5:46 AM (PT)
The "closed-door meeting" ALL ACCESS reported was scheduled (NET NEWS 4/16) between hip-hop mogul RUSSELL SIMMONS and WMG Chairman/CEO LYOR COHEN was held at the NEW YORK home of COHEN, according to NEW YORK POST reports, and lasted several hours, but did not result in any specific initiative.
Organizers billed the gathering as a forum to "discuss issues challenging the industry in the wake of controversy surrounding hip-hop and the First Amendment." Afterward, they planned to hold a news conference at a MANHATTAN hotel to discuss "initiatives agreed upon at the meeting." But by early afternoon, the news conference was postponed because the meeting was still going on.
...complex issue that involves gender, race, culture and artistic expression. Everyone assembled today takes this issue very seriously.
After the meeting ended, it was unclear whether there would be another one. SIMMONS' publicist released a short statement that described the topic as a "complex issue that involves gender, race, culture and artistic expression. Everyone assembled today takes this issue very seriously."
Although no recommendations emerged, the gathering was significant for its who's-who list of powerful music executives.
According to a roster released by SIMMONS on WEDNESDAY (4/18), attendees included WARNER MUSIC EVP KEVIN LILES; ISLAND DEF JAM MUSIC GROUP Chairman L.A. REID; MOTOWN President and UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP EVP SYLVIA RHONE; RIAA Chairman/CEO MITCH BAINWOL; and DAMON DASH, JAY-Z's former ROC-A-FELLA RECORDS partner. Top-selling rapper T.I. also attended, organizers said.
UMG/Sharpton Dust Up Continues
THE NEW YORK POST reports that UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP demanded that its $15,000 donation to the Rev. AL SHARPTON's annual event at the SHERATON HOTEL in MANHATTAN be returned after the civil-rights leader nixed plans to give an award to L.A. REID of DEF JAM.
SHARPTON had "suspended" the planned JAMES BROWN AWARD for REID because he handles a stable of foul-mouthed singers, including the notorious LUDACRIS. SHARPTON believed the recognition would have been inappropriate and hypocritical in the wake of racially insensitive comments made by DON IMUS.
Also in protest, DEF JAM founder RUSSELL SIMMONS didn't buy an anticipated two tables to a dinner last night at the NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK confab, POST sources said. Tables are priced at $10,000 each.
SHARPTON suggested the reason SIMMONS hadn't paid for the tables is that he is retaliating for the reverend's criticism of rap lyrics. SIMMONS denied that he didn't buy the tables and said he still planned to pay for them. "My credit with the rev is good," he said.
A UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP spokesman said there are no hard feelings over SHARPTON's withdrawing the award for REID and that the label didn't ask for the return of its $15,000 donation.
"It's absolutely not true," said a UMG spokesman. "We didn't ask for it back."