Hip-Hop Group Urges Pepsi Boycott

The hip-hop nation has parted ways with the Pepsi generation until the giant soda maker shows it some respect.

The hip-hop nation has parted ways with the Pepsi generation until the giant soda maker shows it some respect. Accusing Pepsi of applying a double standard by placing notoriously foul-mouthed rocker Ozzy Osbourne in a Super Bowl commercial only months after yanking rapper Ludacris for his vulgar language, rap icon Russell Simmons yesterday (Feb. 5) called on the hip-hop community to start a boycott next week against PepsiCo Inc.

"The 'Campaign for Respect' will be officially launched a week from today," Simmons said in statement. "We're asking all artists and supporters of hip-hop culture to refrain from supporting Pepsi and PepsiCo products," he said. Simmons said the action follows six months of unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a settlement of the dispute.

He said the boycott will continue until Pepsi agrees to certain terms, such as issuing a public apology to Ludacris and the hip-hop community, making a $5 million charitable contribution to the Ludacris Foundation, and reinstating the Ludacris Pepsi television commercial.

Purchase, New York-based Pepsi declined to address Simmons' specific demands, but a company spokesman the Ludacris situation was unfortunate for all concerned. "We learned from it and we moved on. We completely understand and respect Russell Simmons' passion for promoting hip-hop music and we are working with him and others to do just that," the spokesman said.

The controversy began a few months ago when conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly said Ludacris was foul-mouthed, accused Pepsi of being "immoral," and urged a boycott. Pepsi caved in to the pressure, yanking its 30-second television spot, stating it had received several consumer complaints about Ludacris' profanity-laden song lyrics.

Simmons and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) had initially planned to announce the boycott during the upcoming National Basketball Association All-Star Weekend in Atlanta. But a spokesperson for the non-profit hip-hop group that Simmons co-founded said they pushed up the announcement as word of the action quickly circulated.

Simmons still plans to the attend the All-Star game in Atlanta and will be co-hosting a party there with entrepreneur and former NBA star Earvin "Magic" Johnson, according to the spokesperson.

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