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Former Spelman Students Respond to Nelly Blaming Them For His Sister’s Death

Nelly blames Spelman students for sister's death 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.

Spelman Til Drill protesters respond to Nelly “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.

What people are saying

12 thoughts on “Former Spelman Students Respond to Nelly Blaming Them For His Sister’s Death

  1. Haqi Jamison says:

    These women are ridiculous. Death, women on the verge of death and that timing is can't be compared.

    There could have still been a conversation about the video. These women in the video make their own choices to appear in the video. Why do women keep thinking women are objectified by men? Especially in the Southeast where they have a culture of strippers. These women grow up wanting to become strippers. It's their choice.

    Bone marrow is not a choice. Needing people to be aware of this is way more important than girls who CHOSE to be in the TIP DRILL video.

  2. Haqi Jamison says:

    They're asking Nelly to own up to his responsibility in the video but not asking the WOMEN who came in for the CASTING CALL to own up to their own responsibility.

    They completely jump a LAYER of responsible people and go for Nelly because he's the celebrity.

    That video does not take place if those women do not shake their asses. The last women should really think about what she's saying when she makes these comments.

  3. Melissa Relf says:

    I'm sorry I couldn't even finsih reading the article after reading her first comment…Nelly needs to put his personal feelings aside and realize what the bigger picture is…..so what about the bigger picture he was fighting for?????? You cannot ask someone to respect your cause when you apparrently did not respect his….damn….I guess I need to finish reading

  4. Melissa Relf says:

    So now I am trying to figure out what the point of her statement was? I still don't understand their logic. Why not go after the women who are participating in these videos….after all she stated…If there’s anybody that has an obligation to young Black girls in the community, it’s us.”…so why not again go after these women and try to motivate them to do better….once you achieve that Nelly and any other rapper can advertise for it all day…but unless the women show what video do you have…….focus was totally wrong……

  5. Haqi Jamison says:

    These women are ridiculous. Death, women on the verge of death, those who CHOOSE to dance and that timing can't be compared.

    There could have still been a conversation about the video. These women in the video make their own choices to appear in the video. Why do women keep thinking women are objectified by men? Especially in the Southeast where they have a culture of strippers. These women grow up wanting to become strippers. It's their choice.

    Bone marrow is not a choice. Needing people to be aware of this is way more important than girls who CHOSE to be in the TIP DRILL video.

  6. How can you compare a woman's life with a dumb-ass video? That's like me being the only one who has the right blood to give to one of these protesters. But refusing to give because she belongs to the SFMLA. That would be very low of me. Not having concern for someone's health. That dumb-ass record has nothing to do with bone-marrow. Nelly didn't make those women do that. It was their choice to say no….and they didn't. I bet you, I bet you my pay check that some of these women of the SFMLA's boyfriends or maybe even their husbands have watch Nelly's videos at least once…..and enjoyed every minute of it. That's sad Spelman. I always looked up to you fine example of African-American women. But no matter what you say you could have/should have been the better person and helped save a life. Instead of just attacking the person you didn't admire, you actually helped/assisted in a young lady's death. Just pray that nothing happens like this to any one close to you.

  7. Shaki Parker says:

    There is nothing equally important as the life of a Love one. I understand what Spelman was trying to accomplish but where is your empathy. You all come across very heartless and after all these years it is evident in Nelly's interview he is still very hurt by the loss of his siste

  8. D Oliver Martin says:

    HYPO-CRITE…. elitism at best. " We the Sistas of Spelman's College have weighed you and found you lacking a Brotha who possess' the property respect for the vagina's et al of aforesaid Sistas, therefore your sister dies…" lol. But you know the ole axiom about the pot and the kettle..
    and where were you last night??

  9. I can understand taking advantage of opportunities , but at what cost? It was very tasteless and very cold hearted to accept with out any conditions and then turn around with conditions in a life or death time sensitive issue.

  10. Typical, come to the hood for help, go back to the burb, when its all good. Nigga please.

  11. Summer Tillman says:

    A. Nelly himself pulled funding for the bone marrow drive. However, Spelman students raised more money to have a a bone marrow drive even without his funding – so this whole idea that somebody robbed Nelly of "his opportunity" or that they didn't care about his sister is ridiculous. I am very sorry that Nelly lost his sister but it was not the women of Spelman's fault.

    B. I do not understand how so many people feel comfortable deciding that these black women somehow how owed Nelly access to their bodies. He was asking for access to their bodies, yet somehow it's ridiculous for them to ask for a conversation about how black women (and their bodies) are portrayed in the music industry.

    C. If you didn't read the article/listen to the interview you have no context and therefore should probably refrain from commenting.

    D. Arguing that Spelman students should have "gone after" the women in these videos is problematic for me. First, nobody was "going after" Nelly. They literally asked for a conversation. Second, there is no evidence that they were not/are not working to empower those women. Third, the fact that there were women willing to participate in the video does not negate Nelly's responsibility. That's like saying the drug dealer is 0% at fault and the addict is 100% at fault. It's just not accurate.

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