In 2004, Nelly was scheduled to host a bone-marrow drive at Spelman College but canceled after a group of women planned a protest against the sexually explicit images in his music video at the time called Tip Drill. The most shocking image showed a young man swiping a credit card in between the derriere of a young woman.
The Country Grammar rapper planned the drive to urge students to enlist for a bone-marrow registry. The drive could have potentially found a donor for Nelly’s sister Jacqueline Donahue, who suffered from leukemia. Donahue died the following year.
The Spelman women called the rapper a coward for refusing to attend and address the misogyny in rap music that he contributes to. Nelly has long contended that the protestors were ill-intentioned. Years after the tragic death of his sister, he still holds the same point of view.
In a recent interview with HuffPost Live, he said:
“The Spelman thing, the only thing I feel I would’ve did different is kick somebody’s ass…that’s just how it felt to me, pimp. I don’t have my sister. And I doubt it if half of those girls are still campaigning for what they quote, unquote took advantage for that opportunity for.”
He added, “You [protesters] robbed me of an 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.”