Geraldo Rivera Says Hip-Hop More Damaging to Blacks, Latinos than Racism

Feb. 18, 2015

By Sheryl Estrada

Josh Zepps interviews Geraldo Rivera.

UPDATED: Feb. 19, 2015 at 7 a.m. EST

Geraldo Rivera said that hip-hop culture has damaged Black and “Brown” people more than racism during an interview withHuffPost Liveon Tuesday, in addition to other offbeat comments.

About 20 minutes into the interview Rivera and host Josh Zepps were discussing politics; Rivera says he’s a “militant moderate” who has voted for President Barack Obama three times. The FOX News senior correspondent and recent contestant on NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice then proceeded to discuss hip-hop.

“Hip-hop has done more damage to Black and Brown people than racism in the last 10 years,” he said. “When you find the youngstera Puerto Rican from the South Bronx or a Black kid from Harlemwho has succeeded in life other than being the one-tenth of one-tenth of 1 percent that make it in the music business, that’s been a success in life, walking around with his pants around his a** and with visible tattoos, you know, it is this whole ethos.”

As he expressed his discontent for the genre, he also discussed one of its pioneering supporters: Russell Simmons, co-founder of hip-hop label Def Jam Records.

“I love Russell Simmons, he’s a dear friend of mine,” Rivera said. “I admire his business acumen. At some point, those guys have to cop to the fact that by encouraging this distinctive culture that is removed from the mainstream, they have encouraged people to be so different from the mainstream that they can’t participate other than, you know, the racks in the garment center and those entry-level jobs. And I lament it. I really do. I think that it has been very destructive culturally.”

Zepps appeared to be a little startled by Rivera’s comments. In response, he said, “There are a lot of potential explanations for why there is alienation of minority communities, in the absence of hip-hop.”

Rivera responded, “I think that fashion plays a part.”

Simmons responded on Twitter late Wednesday afternoon:

Rahman Ali Bugg is Supervising Producer of BET News’ #WhatsAtStake. For almost 20 years, he produced and directed hip-hop programming for TV stations including MTV and VH1. Bugg told DiversityInc that Rivera’s comments are stereotypical and have no merit.

“He is dismissive of people, like music entrepreneurs, who use hip-hop culture to do positive things,” Bugg said. “Hip-hop has only been around since the 1970s. Racism has been working its momentum for centuries, and has killed a lot of young Black men in the last 10 years regardless of whether or not they listen to hip-hop.”

Bugg pointed out Rivera’s use of the word “lament.”

“He puts himself on a high horse,” Bugg said. “He pities people he doesn’t know anything about. He pities my friends, family and community, which is a shame because he is a person of color himself.”

This isn’t the first time Rivera offered his fashion sense to Black and Latino youngsters.

In 2012, in response to the shooting death of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, Rivera said it was Martin’s choice of clothing that played a role in his death.

“I am urging the parents of Black and Latino youngsters particularly not to let their children go out wearing hoodies,” he said on FOX and Friends. “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as much as George Zimmerman was.”

Rivera later apologized for the comment, kind of.

“I apologize to anyone offended by what one prominent Black conservative called my ‘very practical and potentially life-saving campaign urging Black and Hispanic parents not to let their children go around wearing hoodies,'” he said.

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