Public Enemy say that they “did not part ways with Flavor Flav over his political views”

Public Enemy
Chuck D (left) and Flavor Flav performing together in 2016. (Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Following a public spat relating to a performance at a Bernie Sanders rally, Public Enemy have released a statement saying that Flavor Flav’s departure from the band was not about politics.

Chuck D ended up performing alone at Sunday’s rally as Public Enemy Radio. Flavor Flav had previously attempted to halt the performance on the grounds that Bernie Sanders wasn’t allowed to use the band’s image without his permission, stating that he “has not endorsed any political candidate in this election cycle”.

The episode led to Chuck D and Flavor Flav trading barbs on Twitter.

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The new official public statement has been signed by Public Enemy’s current members and says: “Public Enemy did not part ways with Flavor Flav over his political views.

“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.

“Public Enemy Radio toured Europe and co-headlined with the Wu-Tang Clan in May 2019 without Flavor. They have also done numerous benefit shows without Flavor.

“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.”

This seemingly brings to an end a 35-year working relationship between Chuck D and Flavor Flav, who met at university in the mid-’80s and went on to achieve critical acclaim and commercial success with a series of politically-charged albums.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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