One great nonstop Ludacris weekend
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."
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.
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.
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