Public Enemy have clarified details of rapper Flavor Flav’s departure, saying they have not parted ways because of his political views.
News of the split emerged after Public Enemy Radio, an off-shoot of the main band, played without Flavor Flav at a Bernie Sanders presidential campaign rally in the US on Sunday.
The rapper, real name William Drayton Jr, had reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Sanders campaign, saying he “has not endorsed any political candidate in this election cycle”.
And on Twitter, he posted a message to Chuck D, his Public Enemy co-founder, saying: “You wanna destroy something we’ve built over 35 years OVER POLITICS???”
He added that they cannot fire him and “there is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav”.
However, on Tuesday, Public Enemy said the band “did not part ways with Flavor Flav over his political views” and that there had been problems for several years.
In a statement, they said he had been suspended since 2016 “when he was MIA” (missing in action) from a benefit gig for Harry Belafonte’s human rights charity Sankofa in 2016.
“That was the last straw for the group,” the statement said. “He had previously missed numerous live gigs from Glastonbury to Canada, album recording sessions and photo shoots. He always chose to party over work.”
The statement said Public Enemy Radio had toured Europe and co-headlined shows with the Wu-Tang Clan in May 2019 without Flavor.
“They have also done numerous benefit shows without Flavor,” it said.
“While Public Enemy Radio was moving forward, Flavor Flav was starring on the reality show Growing Up Hip-Hop New York, where an episode featured his children discussing an intervention and putting him into rehab.
“It’s time to move on and everyone wishes Flavor well.”
Public Enemy were formed in Long Island, New York, in the mid-’80s and released hits such as Fight The Power, Rebel Without A Pause, Bring The Noise and Don’t Believe The Hype.
They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2013.