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On April Fools’ Day, Public Enemy reveals Flavor Flav’s firing was a hoax

Public Enemy
Chuck D, left, and Flavor Flav apparently never parted ways.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

It turns out Public Enemy, Enemy Radio, Chuck D and Flavor Flav never had a falling out, and hypeman Flav was never fired.

That’s in contrast to messages the band was putting out at the beginning of March, when the longtime collaborators were fighting it out in public on social media, against the background of who was or wasn’t endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders for president.

The news comes from Chuck D on — surprise — April Fools’ Day, along with the release of “Loud Is Not Enough,” the debut album from Enemy Radio, the DJ+MC auxiliary unit of Public Enemy.

“So it’s April 1, 2020 and as we hoard food and empty store shelves, Chuck D and Flavor Flav hijack it as April ‘FlavChuck’ Day to end the HOAX with Enemy Radio’s new song, ‘FOOD AS A MACHINE GUN.’ ‘Don’t Believe The Hype’ 2020 style,” Chuck D. said Wednesday in a statement. “That’s right, this is Enemy Radio featuring Public Enemy, with more around the corner: Enemy Radio’s debut album, ‘LOUD IS NOT ENOUGH,’ is here.”

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In other words, fake stories came out of fake comments put out by real famous people. And there’s no way it was actually a real clash that was resolved behind the scenes?

According to the group, the episode illustrated “how the media disproportionately covers bad news over good news when it comes to hip hop.”

Others would call it simply “covering entertainment news” when members of a group that’s been together for decades decide to part company, as happens in all genres of music.

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“Food as a Machine Gun,” incidentally, speaks out against what the statement calls the “industrial food system that adds chemicals and preservatives to grocery store products at the cost of nutrition.”

Public Enemy has dismissed Flavor Flav, but it wasn’t about a disagreement over Bernie Sanders. “He always chose to party over work,” the hip-hop group says.

“I had watched Orson Welles’ ‘War Of The Worlds’ from 1938 when he pulled the wool over the public’s eyes as they put 100% belief in the technology of radio,” Chuck D explained in his statement.

“Most people followed like a Pavlovic dog just like they do now. Flav doesn’t do benefits and stays away from political events — we been cool and always agreed about that. Enemy Radio was built for that reason, to be a DJ+MC auxiliary unit of Public Enemy, a no-slack homage tossback to DJ+MC roots. It is DJ Lord, myself and Jahi with the S1Ws.

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“Hearing the confused mush of political talk while under the bowels of Trumpotus made me use a presidential stage as my platform. Out of this storm came a plan between Flav and me to remind people that what’s important should have as much, if not more, value than just what’s popular. Thus came the HOAX, our ‘War Of The Worlds.’ Believe half of what you hear and NONE of what you see.”

In the statement, a rep explained further: “While Public Enemy has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, received a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award and toured the world for over 30 years including performances at Coachella and Glastonbury, it was the conflict between the group’s frontmen that made Chuck D a trending topic on social media and garnered global media attention.”

OK then.

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"[T]he war of words between Chuck and Flav was still out there on social media,” The Times’ story about the rift said.

It detailed the apparent conflict, which saw Chuck D implying Flav cared only about money and partying, and Flav countering that he wasn’t an employee and couldn’t be fired.

In a group statement issued at the time, Chuck D, DJ Lord, Jahi, James Bomb and Pop Diesel said Flav’s political views had nothing to do with his dismissal.

“Flavor Flav has been on suspension since 2016 when he was MIA from the Harry Belafonte benefit in Atlanta, Georgia. That was the last straw for the group. He had previously missed numerous live gigs from Glastonbury to Canada, album recording sessions and photo shoots. He always chose to party over work,” they said.

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They added, “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 in rehab. It’s time to move on and everyone wishes Flavor well.”


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