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NAACP Awards Under Fire for Endorsing Rappers

Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

The NAACP Image Awards are set to take place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles tonight, but it’s already stirred up some controversy ahead of schedule. With artists including Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Diddy and Kanye West nominated for awards, the organization has come under fire by several religious organizations and their leaders for celebrating rappers with explicit lyrical content.

Reverend Delman Coates, senior pastor of the Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Maryland, has publicly lashed out at the NAACP with his group, the Enough is Enough Campaign for Corporate Responsibility in Entertainment. “It is unconscionable that the NAACP would sully its brand, squander its legacy, and take such a stand contrary to the aspirations and dreams of the mainstream of the African-American community,” said Coates.

“While artists are free to produce their own art, it is not acceptable for public corporations and established civil right organizations to sanction the kinds of lyrics promoted by some of these artists,” he continued. “These are the wrong images for a civil rights organization to nominate and endorse.”

The Pasadena branch of the NAACP has responded by acknowledging the complaints, and will review them to see if their criticisms are valid. “I think the national office is going to review the policy of the nominees and the participants,” said NACCP President Joe Brown. “Hopefully this will eliminate inviting those whose lyrics are considered disdainful.”

The 42nd Annual NAACP Image Awards, which will be hosted by Holly Robinson Peete and Wayne Brady, are set to air live tonight on FOX at 8PM EST.

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