Several weeks ago “The Average Joe Show” had it’s biggest guest to date when former 2 Live Crew rapper and free speech advocate Luther Campbell stopped by our show to let us know what he’s currently up to these days in the music world as well as share his thoughts on the Miami sports scene.
During his days with 2 Live Crew, Campbell had taken on many battles. His biggest battle (which he won) was with the U.S. Government over freedom of speech rights associated with the content on the album “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” released back in 1989. That battle went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
While on the show we discussed with Campbell a battle he was currently fighting with the Florida Department of Education to become permanently licensed as a football coach. In recent years Campbell had been serving his local Florida community as the defensive coordinator for two seasons at Miami Central High before assuming the same role at Miami Northwestern High School. The last few years Campbell had been able to coach under a temporary license that had been set to expire at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.
Not every county in Florida requires their high school coaches to be licensed but to be a coach in Miami-Dade County where Campbell is from you have to be licensed by the state of Florida’s Education Practices Commission. Once again Campbell was fighting for his livelihood.
While talking with Campbell you could tell how important the privilege of creating a positive impact on the lives of young men and giving back to the community where he was raised by coaching high school football meant to him. I could hear the same passion in his voice that I heard once upon a time when he was fighting for free speech rights in the music world over 20 years ago.
A few days ago, Campbell’s latest battle came to an end and once again he stood victorious as Florida’s Education Practices Commission accepted a ruling from an administrative judge to grant Campbell a permanent license.
After reading the articles about his battles and hearing the struggles of his plight first hand I was very happy for “Uncle Luke”. I knew how much this meant to him and I knew how devastated he would have been had the state of Florida taken coaching away from him.
Believe me, I get why some people are offended by the musical content on “As Nasty As They Wanna Be”. It’s very adult oriented and deals with a ton of sexual themes. I firmly believe that just because a musical artist writes about a particular subject matter that many may find offensive doesn’t mean they necessarily believe in the subject themselves or define who they are as people.
Campbell’s controversial music was made more than 20 years ago. Those that were against his granting of a permanent license were doing so because of what happened in his musical career. He is now in his early 50’s is and not the same person he was in his late 20’s.
Life happens and the way we see the world is forever evolving. A person who has never been in prison should not have their actions as a young person forever held against them as they become older and wiser in the journey of life.
Because of his actions as a young man, Campbell is in a position to have a positive impact on a new generation of young men who desperately need it. Most of the kids Campbell coaches are from rough neighborhoods and broken homes and are in desperate need of a positive role model. Campbell provides that for them. He is pointing them on a path to educational prosperity, which will enable them to positively impact their communities later on in life.
For Campbell, it isn’t about the money. Based on the level of success he achieved in the music industry, I’m guessing he reached a level of financial prosperity long ago. In my humble opinion what Campbell is doing is of the greatest good. He wants to help people, is in a position to do so and asks for nothing in return.
Say what you want about Campbell’s musical past but society needs more people like him. Not less. Congratulations to the state of Florida for recognizing that. However the biggest applause I have for the state of Florida is for recognizing Campbell for the person he currently is and not the artist he once was.
Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.
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