Ashley Judd is no stranger to fame. She was born into country music’s famed Judd family, starred in numerous films, and taken up noteworthy causes as a humanitarian and activist. Last week, the 42-year-old actress returned to the spotlight promoting her novel All That is Bitter & Sweet which spotlights her childhood, her personal battle with depression, and her HIV/AIDS activism.
Today Judd is under fire for comments she made in her memoir attacking hip-hop artists P.Diddy and Snoop Dogg for the negative messages in their lyrics. Radar Online released an except from Judd’s book where she discussed her work as an ambassador for the YouthAIDS campaign.
“Along with other performers, YouthAIDS was supported by rap and hip-hop artists like Snoop Dogg and P. Diddy to spread the message…um, who?” the actress wrote. “Those names were a red flag.”
“As far as I’m concerned, most rap and hip-hop music — with its rape culture and insanely abusive lyrics and depictions of girls and women as ‘ho’s’ — is the contemporary soundtrack of misogyny,” she continued in her book.
The hip-hop community did not remain mum over Judd’s depiction of their music.
Questlove, drummer for The Roots; hip-hop/neo soul group and house band for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, took to Twitter to express his outrage over the Judd’s personal revelation.
“hmmm. at least i got my answer as to why ash judd didn’t give us so much as a nod on her last visit. im a criminal,” he tweeted. “see. Ash’s ‘Rap is rape culture’ statement would be like me hearing this & lumping these guys together.” Questlove attached a video of country music star Johnny Cash singing “Cocaine Blues.”
A day after the backlash started brewing, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons received a frantic call from Judd, a longtime friend, explaining the meaning behind her controversial comments. The hip-hop mogul interviewed Judd on behalf of his website Global Grind.
Regarding her comments about Snoop Dogg and P.Diddy, the actress said:
My intention was to support artists to know that they have so much power. They make incredible life changing impressions, particularly on the young. And we have choices everyday with our expressions, either empower and celebrate people or to re-enforce inequality and degradation. We are either part of the problem, or part of the solution. There is no in-between.
There are elements, and that is the part that has been so distorted, what I’m being accused of is condemning rap and hip-hop as a whole, and the whole community and when they say community, they mean the fans, and African-Americans, it’s become so generalized.
Judd goes on explain…
My intention was to take a stand to say the elements of that musical expression that are misogynistic and treat girls and women in a hyper-sexualized way that are inappropriate. That is not acceptable in any artistic expression, in any cultural form, whether its country music or in television story lines. And if they read more than one paragraph in the book, they would see that all four hundred pages are about that.
Ashley Judd’s memoir, reportedly filled with personal revelations, entitled All That Is Bitter & Sweet, has sparked some rebukes, but it is apparent the actress is hopeful fans will be open-minded about embracing it.