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John Mellencamp Said He Left Columbia Over The Label President’s Racist Comments


John Mellencamp


This story sounds unbelievable, not that I doubt it ever happened, but it is crazy nevertheless considering we have supposedly evolved away from these dark ages? Or not?

Rocker John Mellencamp was on Howard Stern on SiriusXM this morning, and he revealed why he quit his label Columbia Records in 2001: it was due to racist language coming straight from the mouth of the president’s company:

‘My manager went in and was talking to the record company, and the president of the record company – who I won’t mention his name, but you could probably figure it out – said, ‘I don’t know why Mellencamp insists on having these [n—–s] singing with him,’ said Mellencamp. ‘It makes it impossible to get him [on radio].’

Mellencamp had just released ‘Peaceful World’ a duet with India.Arie on his ‘Cuttin’ Heads’ album. Ironically, it also includes a song-collaboration with Chuck D, which was precisely addressing his annoyance at the use of the “N” word in rap music. Mellecamp also recorded Van Morrison’s ‘Wild Night’ with Meshell Ndegeocello.

It is the most straightforward comment ever, and of course this arose my curiosity, who was that racist jerk? And a quick research revealed that was Don Ienner was the Chairman of the Sony Music label group at the time…

Mellencamp also said that Columbia’s former senior vice president of marketing and media, Larry Jenkins, lost his position after saying he disagreed with the use of the n-word. ‘And don’t forget, all of Columbia was making their money off of rap at the time and hip-hop’, continued Mellencamp. ‘And here was this guy using that word. … My next call was to [lawyer] Allen Grubman, and I just said, ‘Get me off this label – now.’’

And isn’t Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, the world’s best-selling album of all time? Such an irony, such there is so much stupidity in this world.

Say what you want about John Mellencamp’s music, and I won’t say anything about it here, this was a brave move, and obviously the right thing to do.

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