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Chicago Rapper Twista Responds To McDonald's Controversy
Contributed by: Chris Richburg
Posted on: August 1, 2007 11:46 MST
Filed under: Rap

twista

Twista may be off the McDonald's Live Tour, but the rapper isn't taking the fast food giant's decision to cancel his appearance lying down.

McDonald's cited Twista's "controversial lyrics" as the reason behind dropping him from the 10-city outing.

The rapper was initially slated to perform Aug. 7 in his hometown of Chicago.

"I am very disappointed by McDonald's decision to cancel my participation in the McDonald's Live Tour," Twista said in a statement. "Being that McDonald's and I have worked together in the past, it was unsettling that I would be removed from the tour after undergoing the planning process and receiving assurances from McDonald's on multiple occasions that I would appear on the tour."

While it is easy to scapegoat Twista for his music, the rapper feels his dismissal is the latest in a string of actions that have occurred in the aftermath of the Don Imus radio controversy.

"The recent trend of finger-pointing, and playing the blame game with certain media outlets and certain individuals needs to stop," expressed the rapper, who is gearing up for the Sept. 18 release of his new album, Adrenaline Rush 2007.

"We live in a society that advocates free speech," Twista noted. "You want free speech? You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then our country's symbol has to be one of its citizens exercising their right to stand up and shout at the top of their lungs using words and telling stories that capture the reality of their day-to-day lives."
"Not all art is suitable for every age, just as not every movie is suitable for every age which is why it's lawfully labeled with a 'parental advisory' sticker," Twista continued. "Ultimately, the 'parental advisory' warning aides parents in their responsibility to police & guide their children, despite that it still should not discredit me or my music."

Despite Twista's views, McDonald's spokesman William Whitman said the chain was focused on providing a family-friendly atmosphere for the tour.

"Although we respect free speech and artistic expression, we do not condone or perpetuate derogatory language," Whitman said in a statement. "We want to ensure these free concerts are fun as well as appropriate for all of our customers."

As critics seize upon opportunities to single Twista out, the rapid-fire rapping MC is quick to point out that the problem goes deeper than his lyrical content.

"Art is a reflection of life. We tell stories about the culture and environment we grew up in, and unfortunately most of it isn't pretty," he stated. "But for people to single me out as a negative individual because of that is both unfair and unnecessary. The media and certain individuals are painting this as a "hip-hop" issue when this transcends musical genres. Music and art have been a means of expression for hundreds of years."

McDonald's is currently trying to find a replacement for Twista for the Chicago performance. In the meantime, the Chicago native feels it is time for a united effort to address the issues that are addressed in music.

"Instead of playing the blame game and creating a 'right' side and a 'wrong' side, let's come together to find ways that reach inner city youth and do away with the gang and crime-infested environments where most of them grow up," Twista suggested. "Let's understand the challenges they face and what type of communities foster that. We have serious problems facing our communities and we need serious people to solve them."

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