Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Hip-hop group to boycott Pepsi over TV ad decision

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) — One of the biggest soda makers in the nation has gone “wack” with the hip-hop generation.

Angered at Pepsi for placing foul-mouthed Ozzy Osbourne in a Superbowl commercial only months after yanking rapper Ludacris for his vulgar language, hip-hop icon Russell Simmons said Tuesday he will announce this weekend plans for a boycott against the soft-drinks giant, accusing Pepsi of applying a double standard in a “wack” (hip-hop slang for displeasing) manner.

“The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) plans to announce and detail a proposed boycott of Pepsi during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Atlanta,” a spokeswoman for Simmons and the non-profit hip-hop group he helped found, said.

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“The boycott is being called in response to Pepsi dropping Ludacris as spokesman and subsequently picking up the Osbournes, who are no less vulgar,” she added.

Simmons is credited with bringing black, hip-hop culture into the American mainstream over the past 20 years. He is also the founder of Def Jam Records, a unit of Vivendi Universal.

A spokesman for PepsiCo Inc. said the Ludacris controversy was an unfortunate experience.

Pepsi’s mistake

“It was our mistake; we learned a lot from it and we’ve moved on,” the spokesman for Pepsi said.

“We respect Russell’s interest in bringing hip-hop talent to a larger audience, and we have worked together to do just that,” he added.

The controversy regarding the Ludacris spot dates back to a few months ago when conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly pointed out that the rapper was foul-mouthed, accused Pepsi of being “immoral” and urged a boycott.

Pepsi caved in to the pressure, yanking its 30-second television spot, stating it had received several consumer complaints about Ludacris’ sexually-explicit, profanity-laden song lyrics.

The spot itself, called “Party,” was created and produced by UniWorld and featured a party in full swing in a barn, with Ludacris onstage, rapping. Observers have said that there were no obscene lyrics during the commercial.

O’Reilly, however, reportedly got a hold of Ludacris’ lyrics from his song catalog, and they were laced with vulgarities.

Pepsi has a history of yanking controversial spots, such as one in 1989 with Madonna featuring her “Like a Prayer,” song, which debuted at the same time as her video, featuring burning crosses that sparked consumer protests.

Simmons’ move is strategically timed, announcing the boycott of Pepsi in rival Coca Cola Co.’s home town of Atlanta during a star-studded and high-profile weekend featuring professional basketball’s All-Star game when fashion, parties and entertainment will get almost as much attention as the players themselves.

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