black women

Spelman Alumnae Respond to Nelly’s Criticism

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by Barry Burch Jr.

Rapper Nelly spoke his mind last week with regard to the role he feels a group of women at Spelman College played in the prevention of a 2004 bone marrow drive he attempted to have on the campus for his sick sister.  However, this week, he is receiving feedback.

On Monday, some former students from the historically black women’s campus released a response to the artist.  They don’t appreciate the rapper’s comments.  They accused Nelly of failing to handle his responsibilities and accusing the students to help deal with his frustration.

According to the Huffington Post, Asha Jennings, a former member of the Spelman Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA), said she and the other women at the college had hopes that  Nelly would be able to see past his personal circumstances.  They wanted him to realize the ramifications of his video, “Tip Drill.”  The ladies believed the video to be objectifying women.

In an interview with HuffPost Live, Jennings told Marc Lamont Hill, “We are a historically black, all women’s institution.  If there’s anybody that has an obligation to young black girls in the community, it’s us.”

Nelly’s purpose for the drive was to support his sister, Jacqueline Donahue, who had been diagnosed with leukemia and eventually died from it in 2005.  The rapper publicly announced his frustration with the Spelman students and said that if he could do anything over again, he would “kick somebody’s ass.”

“You [protesters] robbed me of a opportunity.  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…” nelly said.

However, according to Jennings the rapper may not be telling the whole truth with regard to the bone marrow drive.  She said the protest was not the reason for its cancellation, but that Nelly pulling his funding for the event was.

Jennings continued, “Our important message was to show the African-American community we shouldn’t have to choose between these issues.  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.”

Barry is a scholar, who enjoys writing, arithmetic and politics.  Reach him @


  1. Traci404

    November 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    In 2004 their were other viable places Nelly could have held a Bone Marrow drive.
    He could have held a Bone Marrow Telethon with Grady Hospital,- Inconjunction with Channel 11 WXIA
    He could have gone to Howard University, Bethune College, North Carolina A&T.

    Hell He could have had Bone Marrow Drives at all the Strip Clubs From East Coast to West Coast.

    He could have asked the NBA for support, since during that time he was part owner in the Charlotte Bobcats.
    I think thats right.

    During this time frame – Nelly was a hot recording artist, that could have done just about anything he wanted.
    He could have had Billboards in every city North, South, East and West.

    But he ran into a group of Women who did not appreciate the imagery he was selling in the community,
    The videos showing Black Women running a credit card through here butt – Thats derogatory, and vile.

    Clearly, even 11 years later he is still mad, because he didnt do everything he could .
    Blaming the women of Spellman because they would not do what your celebrity privilege would normally give carte blanche to, is still wrong.

    At some point in time, these artist need to evaluate what are the boundaries, where do you draw the line, what are willing to do for a dollar!

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