Black Voices

Former Spelman Students Tell Nelly 'We Shouldn't Have To Choose Between These Issues'


Last week, Nelly sparked a bit of controversy in his response to a group of women at Spelman college, expressing his frustration surrounding a 2004 protest of a bone marrow drive on the historically black women's campus.

But on Monday, a group of former students responded to the rapper, criticizing him for not taking responsibility for his actions and placing the blame on the students instead.

Asha Jennings, a former member of the Spelman Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA), said the women hoped Nelly could look beyond his personal situation to understand the broader message that his video, "Tip Drill" was projecting to the community by objectifying women.

"We are a historically black, all women's institution," Jennings told HuffPost Live host, Marc Lamont Hill. "If there's anybody that has an obligation to young black girls in the community, it's us."

The planned drive was in support of the rapper's sister, Jacqueline Donahue, who later lost her battle to leukemia in 2005. Nelly said he was angry with the Spelman students for robbing him of an opportunity to save his sister's life and that the only thing he would have done differently was "kick somebody's ass."

“You [protesters] robbed me of a opportunity. Unfairly, my brother. Because we could’ve still had your conversation after I got my opportunity, but it could’ve been somebody that was coming to that bone marrow drive that day, that was possibly a match for my sister. That didn’t come because of that…”

Jennings clarified the rapper's implication that the bone marrow drive did not take place because of their protest, saying it was delayed after Nelly pulled his funding.

"Our important message was to show the African-American community we shouldn't have to choose between these issues," she said. "They are all equally as important, we can do both. And so we fought, tooth and nail in order to, before I graduated in May of 2004, put on our own bone marrow drive."

Watch the conversation in the clip above and share your thoughts in the comments section.

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