Monday, February 6, 2023

Black Lives Matter 757 is aiming to cancel nationally syndicated radio show over ‘Sweetpea’ comments

Pernell Whitaker (Southside Daily/Courtesy of 13NewsNow)
Pernell Whitaker (Southside Daily/Courtesy of 13NewsNow)

NORFOLK — A petition launched by Black Lives Matter 757 Thursday garnered more than 1,500 signatures in less than 24 hours — and more than 4,600 signatures by Tuesday.

Their aim is to cancel nationally syndicated morning Hip-Hop and R&B radio show, “The Breakfast Club,” where they said co-host, Lenard ‘Charlamagne Tha God’ McKelvey, undermined the death of former boxing champ and Norfolk native Pernell “Sweetpea” Whitaker.

In his July 16 show and two days after Whitaker’s death, McKelvey who is known for being “unfiltered” said “the irony of ducking punches for all those years and being known for getting out of the way only to be hit by a car.”

Later, in the same episode, the host apologized for offending anyone and said he “wasn’t making a joke,” but in his own way was just saying he’d wished Whitaker would’ve gotten out of the way.

RELATED STORY: Pernell ‘Sweetpea’ Whitaker, ex-world champ and Olympic gold medalist, struck, killed by vehicle in Virginia Beach

JaPharii Jones, president of Black Lives Matter 757, said the apology fell short.

“Words without actions are empty,” he said.

Despite McKelvey being African-American himself, Jones said the radio personality disrespectfully made light of Whitaker’s death contradicting the organization’s core mission  “to ensure black lives matter in the 757 and beyond.”

“We have had enough going on around here without being added to the butt of someone’s morbid jokes,” Jones said.

Jones also said the organization took action “in line with the people” after receiving messages of outrage from its members and would like to collect at least 10,000 signatures on the petition.

“Charlamagne himself always says ‘freedom of speech does not come free’ as there are consequences for said words and actions,” he said.

RELATED STORY: Norfolk may rename city boxing center after Pernell ‘Sweetpea’ Whitaker

And, Jones named the price saying the show on the local 103 Jamz station should be canceled and the time filled with local personalities who’d “be intuned to what’s going on.”

McKelvey has recently conducted interviews with presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris — Jones said the host should use his platform to show his support and uplift the community.

“Wheather it’s a stop-the-violence event, back-to-school event, or charity boxing match, he should attend something of that nature to help the grieving Norfolk area who just lost one of its legends,” he said.

For more information or to sign the petition, click here. 

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