#HappyHipHopBornday to Richard Griffin (born August 1, 1960), aka @professorgriff an American rapper, spoken word artist, and lecturer. He is a member of the hip hop group Public Enemy and head of the group Security of the First World.
Before the release of It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Professor Griff, in his role as Minister of Information, gave interviews to UK magazines on behalf of Public Enemy, during which he made homophobic and anti-Semitic remarks. However, there was little controversy until May 22, 1989, when Griffin was interviewed by the Washington Times. At the time, Public Enemy enjoyed unprecedented mainstream attention with the single "Fight the Power" from the soundtrack of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing.
During the interview with David Mills, Griffin made numerous statements such as "Jews are responsible for the majority of the wickedness in the world".
When the interview was published, a media firestorm emerged, and the band found itself under intense scrutiny.
In a series of press conferences, Griffin was either fired, quit, or never left. Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin had already left the label by then; taking his place alongside Russell Simmons was Lyor Cohen, the son of Israeli immigrants who had run Rush Artists Management since 1985. Before the dust settled, Cohen claims to have arranged for a Holocaust Museum to give the band a private tour.
In an attempt to defuse the situation, Ridenhour first expressed an apology on his behalf, and fired Griffin soon thereafter. Griffin later rejoined the group, provoking more protests, causing Ridenhour to briefly disband the group. When Public Enemy reformed, due to increasing attention from the press and pressure from Def Jam hierarchy, Griffin was no longer with the band.
Griffin later publicly expressed remorse for his statements after a meeting with the National Holocaust Awareness Student Organization in 1990. #Salute #publicenemy #securityofthefirstworld #s1w #ittakesanationofmillionstoholdusback #yobumrushtheshow #fearofablackplanet #ministerofinformation #superdynamitesoul