Flavor Flav fired from Public Enemy over Bernie Sanders flap

"Hey Bernie, don't do this."

Public Enemy made contributions to hip-hop with sonic experimentation, along with their political and cultural consciousness.

What We Know: 

  • Public Enemy announced that they are moving forward without Flavor Flav. He is known as one of hip-hop’s most memorable hypemen after over 35 years. The abrupt dismissal came two days after the rapper sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bernie Sanders over Chuck D’s concert at the Los Angeles campaign rally.
  • The cease-and-desist letter was sent to Sanders by Flavor Flav’s lawyer Matthew Friedman. The Sanders campaign was accused of using the hypeman’s “unauthorized likeness, image, and trademarked clock” to promote the rally, even though Flavor Flav “has not endorsed any political candidate”.
  • The group reiterated that Public Enemy Radio — a Chuck D-led offshoot featuring DJ Lord, Jahi, and the S1Ws — would still perform at the free, live streamed Sanders rally gig at 6 p.m. PST at the Los Angeles Convention Center, according to Rolling Stone.
  • “While Chuck is certainly free to express his political view as he sees fit — his voice alone does not speak for Public Enemy,” the letter states. “The planned performance will only be Chuck D of Public Enemy, it will not be a performance by Public Enemy. Those who truly know what Public Enemy stands for know what time it is. There is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav.”
  • Chuck D vocalized about his band member of more than three decades, “Flavor chooses to dance for his money and not do benevolent work like this. He has a year to get his act together and get himself straight or he’s out.”
  • A lawyer for Chuck D added, “From a legal standpoint, Chuck could perform as Public Enemy if he ever wanted to; he is the sole owner of the Public Enemy trademark. He originally drew the logo himself in the mid-80s, is also the creative visionary and the group’s primary songwriter, having written Flavor’s most memorable lines.”
  • Chuck D clarified the issue in depth on Twitter. “My last straw was long ago,” he wrote. “It’s not about BERNIE with Flav… he don’t know the difference between [former NFL running back] Barry Sanders or Bernie Sanders. He don’t know either. FLAV refused to support Sankofa after Harry Belafonte inducted us. He don’t do that.” Sankofa, a grassroots organization founded by Belafonte, aims to, as they note on their site, “focus on issues of injustice that disproportionately affect the disenfranchised, the oppressed, and the underserved, which left unaddressed will continue to impact the lives of too many individuals and remain a scar on our nation’s moral character.”  

Public Enemy Radio is set to release a new album in April.




Jakiyah Haywood is an Digital Intern at UnmutedCo.