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Shots Fired: Nelly Blames Spelman College Protest for His Sister’s Death?

Photo Credit: HuffPost Live

Photo Credit: HuffPost Live

By: Amanda Anderson-Niles

Nelly is doing press this week to promote his hit show on BET, “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” but the rapper and actor has a lot of people talking about his recent comments about historical black college Spelman College.  Several years ago when Nelly was one of the most popular rappers at the time, he found himself in the middle of controversy for his music video for “Tip Drill.” In the video, there was a scene in which he took a credit card and slid it down the middle of a young video vixen’s behind. This of course made a lot of women furious, and the women of Spelman College decided to protest him for it.

The protestors boycotted the 2004 bone marrow drive he was supposed to have at the campus to aid his sister Jacqueline Donahue who eventually passed away from leukemia in 2005. The protest caused Nelly to cancel the event and he tells Marc Lamont Hill via HuffPost Live that he’s still furious about the situation and he also somewhat blames the protestors for his sister’s death:

“The Spelman thing, the only thing I feel I would’ve did different is kick somebody’s a*s…that’s just how it felt to me, Pimp. I don’t have my sister. And I doubt it if half of those girls are still campaigning for what they quote, unquote took advantage for that opportunity for.

“You [protesters] robbed me of a opportunity. Unfairly, my brother. Because we could’ve still had your conversation after I got my opportunity, but it could’ve been somebody that was coming to that bone marrow drive that day, that was possibly a match for my sister. That didn’t come because of that…”


Check out the clip below:

Amanda is a TV junkie with a passion for all things reality television. She's from Decatur, GA.



  1. Barbee

    November 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm


  2. Lisa

    November 15, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    It’s very unfair for him to blame the protestors for his sister’s death. He made the video and they had the right to protest him if that’s the cause they wanted to fight for.

  3. Kyla

    November 15, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I really don’t know how to feel about this. I know he’s hurting that he lost his sister, but to blame these women for his sister’s death just seems wrong to me. But I can only imagine how he feels about losing his sis.

  4. Get Busy

    November 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I can see where he’s coming from. The cause was so much more important than that music video. They shouldn’t have protested his bone marrow drive.

    • Anonymous Spelmanite

      November 16, 2013 at 2:02 am

      Those “protesters” didn’t protest the bone marrow drive. They were protesting the Tipdrill video, and the degradation of African American women. The video release and Nelly’s request and approval to host a bone marrow drive at Spelman happened within the same time frame. I think people are forgetting that KEY factor. It wasn’t a “Oh, Nelly is going to be at Spelman. Let’s protest his bone marrow drive and video at the same time” moment. It was more of an invitation to take part in a discussion about hip hop culture and its portrayal of women. Those students nor Spelman were demanding that Nelly take part of that discussion as a condition of him hosting a bone marrow drive on the campus. As a matter of FACT, those same “protestors” donated. Nelly is trying to get sympathy on the behalf of his sister and her passing; however, facts are facts, and he is NOT being completely honest. Being a graduate of Spelman, I must say we are taught to be FREE THINKING WOMEN CHANGING THE WORLD, amongst a plethora of others. We protest injustices and the (mis)treatment of women and children, amongst other things. For Nelly to even have the audacity to say that those Spelmanites (more specifically the women of NSFW, Spelman’s Feminist organization) were putting their own agenda OVER his bone marrow drive; is utterly ridiculous and ludicrous. That’s not what happened. Clearly, Nelly has forgotten his role in hip hop culture or in society as a whole. That video was talked about nationally, if not worldwide. It’s clear that he didn’t expect any feedback other than positive regarding that video. HE did not take responsibility for his actions for something so impeccably degrading to black women, and still has yet to, that is associated with HIS BRAND. THAT would’ve been the perfect time to address the comments surrounding his video publicity wise. Really, what’s better than discussing gender in hip hop with some of the most elite black women in the world? At the world’s TOP women’s college, where there is a very diverse group of women from all over the world? But I digress. They were NOT asking him to stop everything he was doing and ignore his marrow drive for the sake of a discussion. They simply made a request for Nelly to be a part of that discussion, at his discretion. Not have a discussion first, then host your bone marrow drive. HE made their campus based “protest” BIGGER than just Spelman and those within the AUC by nationalizing it. HE cancelled his bone marrow drive, and SPELMAN hosted a drive in lieu of his in effort to still find a viable match for Nelly’s sister. Spelman did NOT have to do that BUT the Spelman community has a responsibility to those afflictions that affect the African American community, even more so for women. More people attended/signed up for the drive hosted by Spelman than Nelly’s. Him televising and making the “protest against his marrow drive” nationally known only increased people’s desire to want to donate. Too bad he let his pride outweigh the REAL reason for his visit to Spelman – the bone marrow drive. He could have been apart of that drive which has helped save the lives of many. HE robbed himself of that opportunity. And I doubt anyone was deterred away from the drive because of the “protest.” Honestly, it seems as if him finding a match for his sister was his only priority rather than the good that comes from hosting such drives. If he truly felt robbed, then did he host other bone marrow drives? Or was he betting solely on the Spelman College brand and that Atlanta is the Black Mecca? Either way, he WILL NOT place blame solely on my Spelman College; and not see the error of his ways. Smh.
      You can always tell when someone is wrong in a given situation and don’t want to admit their errors. They either make jokes or assumptions or take jabs, or both. Nelly did both. I quote: “You protested. Are you still protesting that now cause I don’t have my sister […] and half of y’all that were protesting are probably in the club dancing to them songs that you’re protesting about..” Then says that he would’ve “kicked somebody’s a-s” in relations to an all girls college?! Oh, okay. And Spelman is NOT within a 6block radius of 3 or 4 strip clubs. Spelman is most definitely not protesting at strip clubs because its a legitimate business AND there are bigger issues in the world than strip clubs. Yes, we are discussing stripping and the degradation of women as a whole; however, that culture will not and has not came within the gates of Spelman asking their students for help. PERIOD!
      And as far as society not knowing about hip hop artists’ nonprofit organization or positive influences within the community… Most are too busy flaunting money, cars, clothes, whores, and other frivolous things THAN talking about the positive things they are doing. Did anyone know Nelly opened an accredited college? These outlets are only providing society what celebrities put out there. Now if you’re doing or have done something major and of upmost importance to you, and you’re excited about it; then you will make it known, well known. Each and every interview, I would bring it up and force the conversation in that direction. Celebrities choose what they will and will not discuss in interview and such. Many times they are given topics of discussions, as well as given the opportunity to pick the topics of discussions. I’m just saying Nelly, don’t make it seem like you don’t have all of the power in interviews and such. Smh.

      All in all, Nelly sounds bitter as hell and needs grief counseling or something.

      • Uncontainable Spirit

        November 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm

        Nelly AND Spelman both handled the situation incorrectly. To position it in any other way is folly. Both of you could have done one another a great good however Nelly allowed his pride and ego get in the way and the feminist organization at Spelman allowed their pride and ego get in the way. That there was a drive held anyway is inconsequential. In any battle between black men and black women there is never a winner. Both of us lose.

  5. Anonymous

    November 15, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    But I thought they held a bone marrow drive on their own after the fact?

  6. Anonymous

    November 15, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    So he still doesn’t see what was wrong with that video after all these years…smh

  7. Meagan

    November 15, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I honestly see what Nelly is saying. It was a music video and shouldn’t have caused women to protest against a bone marrow drive out of all things. That just wasn’t the right way to protest.

  8. The Truth

    November 15, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    The event was held anyway I think even after he cancelled and there was a large turnout. So what is he talking about?

  9. Queen

    November 15, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Those are some strong words. I think he may be unfairly blaming the protestors for his sister’s death.

  10. Myesha

    November 15, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    He only said the truth. Most protests/boycotts are fads. People just like to jump on the bandwagon and pretend like they are doing something. But in the end they ruined his opportunity to save his sister. And the ironic thing about it is they claimed they were standing up for all women but they hindered one women’s chance to get better. Smh.

  11. anonymous

    November 15, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Had he not have made that raunchy video, he would have never gotten protested…

  12. Jamaica

    November 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Huh? They still had the bone marrow drive, they just didn’t include him. But he shouldn’t expect an institution for women to want him on the campus after he made that kind of music video.

  13. Lauren

    November 15, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    The protest was pointless in my opinion. Those video chicks were cheesing throughout the whole video. They wanted to be there and got paid for it too. At some point women have to understand that some females don’t care about being respected. They just want to be paid. And they aren’t worth protesting for.

  14. Lay Lay

    November 15, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    The issue could have been handled AFTER the drive. That’s all I’m saying.

  15. Veronica

    November 15, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I think it’s a misunderstanding on both sides. They had the drive but Nelly decided not to show up because he was told there was a lot of students protesting him, but it really wasn’t.

  16. Peachy

    November 15, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Time to take some responsibility for that video Nelly.

  17. Anonymous

    November 15, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Both sides should have sat down and had a conversation because both sides are telling a different story. So there had to be some kind of misunderstanding.

  18. xedos

    November 15, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    how can a video compare to someone life. its funny it was women block him from finding a donor to save a next woman’s life.His sister has nothing to do with the video you can protest his show,but a bone marrow drive is crazy May a match had the time to come in that first day,but not the other time,but we will never know
    because of those 60’s wannabe feminist.
    maybe it it was some crazy white folks they would have gone back and go postal on that campus

  19. Uncontainable Spirit

    November 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    While I get his point, he could have taken complete control of the situation and created a better outcome. I understand his frustration and anger though, heaven knows what the Spelman feminist brigade came at him with. That’s all part of being a man. Now he has to do the only real thing that actually makes you a man and that is take full responsibility for your actions.

  20. Anon

    January 19, 2016 at 4:49 am

    They were selfish cowards jumping on the protest bandwagon like that pointless Occupy movement. The timing made him a pivotal target but they took advantage of a humanitarian mission to address a big name. If they also publically attacked the video vixens, the rappers and the music execs as a platform as a whole, maybe the paradigm would have shifted in their favor. They should have accosted the women auditioning for the videos point blank. Those women have blood on their paws.

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