Former Spelman students are speaking up after rapper Nelly claimed that they were partially to blame for his sister’s death when they protested his bone marrow drive for her back in 2004.
Nelly placed the blame on the Spelman students’ shoulders when he sat down for a candid interview with The Huffington Post, saying that they were the reason his sister Jacqueline Donahue lost her battle to leukemia in 2005.
The students had protested the bone marrow drive because of Nelly’s controversial music video for the song “Tip Drill,” and they are still standing behind that decision.
Former Spelman student Asha Jennings, who also used to be a member of the Spelman Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, said that Nelly needs to put his personal feelings aside and realize what the bigger picture is.
“We are a historically Black, all-women’s institution,” Jennings told Huff Post Live host Marc Lamont Hill. “If there’s anybody that has an obligation to young Black girls in the community, it’s us.”
She also defended her stance that protesting the music video’s content was more important the supporting the bone marrow drive.
She said that Nelly is being unfair for blaming the students for the bone marrow drive cancellation, as he had already pulled his funding for the project and that’s what really prevented it from happening.
The students put together their own bone marrow drive shortly after the incident, and Jennings said it was because they felt both issues were important.
“Our important message was to show the African American community we shouldn’t have to chose between these issues,” she said. “They are all equally as important, we can do both. And so we fought, tooth and nail in order to, before I graduated in May of 2004, put on our own bone marrow drive.”
When Nelly spoke about the incident several days ago he said that the protesters “robbed” him of a huge opportunity.
“You [protesters] robbed me of a opportunity,” he said. “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…”
He also felt the girls were hypocritical and he doesn’t believe any of them are still campaigning that strongly for the cause they were fighting for back then.
“I don’t have my sister,” he said. “And I doubt if if half of those girls are still campaigning for what they quote, unquote took advantage for that opportunity for.”
The “Tip Drill” video has gone down in hip-hop history for its controversial and explicit content and the debatable exploitation of the women featured in the video.