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One great nonstop Ludacris weekend

Ludacris, center, laughs with Raheem DeVaughn, left, on the red carpet at his foundation gala dinner Saturday. (Jay Westcott/Getty Images)

Underestimate Ludacris at your peril. Just one year after dropping the B-word on Hillary Clinton in a song, the rapper came to Washington for the next step in his climb to superstardom.

Think his career was damaged after the Obama supporter insulted Clinton during last year's campaign? For maybe a nanosecond. His triumphant welcome in Washington this past weekend had all the earmarks of a victory lap: holding forth at the National Press Club, greeting cheering crowds alongside Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson at the Howard homecoming, hosting a black-tie crowd at the Reagan building for the Ludacris Foundation, even pontificating on Sunday morning TV.

The Clinton diss didn't come up at the press lunch, and he rebuffed questions about politics at Saturday's gala -- although he alluded to the issue on "Washington Watch With Roland Martin": "I use certain words," he explained, just like comedians and other entertainers. "It's a form of expression."

Ludacris, riding with Taraji Henson in the Howard Homecoming parade. (Mark Gail/The Washington Post)

First stop: The press club Friday, where he dazzled in a flawless gray suit, white shirt, tie and diamond studs so big they blinded the back row. The 32-year-old rapper (born Chris Bridges) brought his own stimulus package to the nation's capital -- his foundation, which he wants to take national. "We give a hand up, not a handout," he said, and went on to showcase the brains and humor behind those controversial rhymes.

For good measure, he brought along his mother, Roberta Shields, and explained that she made him write down his expectations and goals every year while growing up. "That's why I feel I'm so driven," he told the audience.

Speaking at the National Press Club Friday. (Lauren Victoria Burke/AP)

Clearly, all is forgiven, if not forgotten, by a lot of very important people, including gala honorees Rep. Maxine Waters, Quincy Jones, BET's Debra Lee and others. And that ongoing feud with Bill O'Reilly? No problem for the foundation's sponsors, such as BET, Pepsi and Anheuser-Busch.

Lee giggled as she praised the host, and quoted one of his rhymes: ".'Some say that sex is overrated, but they just ain't doin' it right.' That's my favorite Ludacris lines!" Music exec Kevin Liles called him "one of the most caring artists that has walked into my life."

Trust us -- Ludacris isn't going anywhere but up.

By The Reliable Source  |  October 26, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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I love ya Luda, you can act, rap, entertain, a give back all while looking good!

Posted by: bobby20 | October 26, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

This year he made good on his "Pimpin' All Over the World" promise to get in the car and just drive for hours to make sure he doesn't miss the homecoming at Howard. Unless he flew. Did you ask him about that?

Posted by: Lindemann777 | October 26, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if either of the nitwits that write this column have bothered to listen his music or read his lyrics. Perhaps the fact that women are continually insulted and degraded by him might make them a little less likely to write such a fluff piece. I guess that's too much to ask of dopey gossip columnists.

Posted by: dbunkr | October 26, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for writing, dbunkr. I'm very familiar with Ludacris's work, and I know some of it is arguably objectionable. I'm pretty sure he's never called me "dopey" or a "nitwit" though.

Posted by: The Reliable Source | October 26, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Point bad.

Posted by: dbunkr | October 26, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Point bad.

Posted by: dbunkr | October 26, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

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