But she has a new enemy in Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, the drummer and mastermind behind the Roots (who you either know as the collective who completely changed hip-hop with 1999’s Things Fall Apart or as the house band for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon).
In a passage of her book specifically focusing YouthAIDS’ association with Diddy and Snoop Dogg, Judd wrote:
“YouthAIDS created hip public service announcements for TV and radio using popular local and international celebrities and athletes and was participating in the MTV World AIDS Day ‘Staying Alive’ concerts. Along with other performers, YouthAIDS was supported by rap and hip-hop artists like Snoop Dogg and P. Diddy to spread the message … um, who? Those names were a red flag. As far as I’m concerned, most rap and hip-hop music—with its rape culture and insanely abusive lyrics and depictions of girls and women as ‘ho’s’—is the contemporary soundtrack of misogyny.”
In response, ?uestlove tweeted on his official page, which has some 1.5 million followers, “hmmm. at least i got my answer as to why ash judd didn’t give us so much as a nod on her last visit. im a criminal.”
“EVERY genre of music has elements of violence,” he noted in a subsequent tweet. “It speaks MORE volumes that in rap only a certain side gets promoted.”
We have to side with ?uest on this one, as Judd’s dismissal of most rap because of “rape culture” is at best pedantic and at worst, insulting to artists who have always struggled with the image of hip-hop and engage in the conversation over its content (including the Roots themselves).
Mainstream rap has a history of objectifying women, but so does country music. Both genres feature fits of violence as well. To write off everything simply because of a few admittedly bad apples is the stuff that lazy publicity stunts (and wacky-actress book sales) are made of.
UPDATE: Judd has responded, saying in part, “I have looked closely at the feedback I have received about those two paragraphs, and absolutely see your points, and I fully capitulate to your rightness, and again humbly offer my heartfelt amends for not having been able to see the fault in my writing, and not having anticipated it would be painful for so many. Crucial words are missing that could have made a giant difference … I am also aware that, no matter what I do, some will call me disingenuous and impute bad motives to me.” To read the full statement, click here.