(The Weekly Standard) -- The State Department is presenting a global webcast on February 4, titled "From the Street to Mainstream: The Evolution of Rap/Hip Hop Music." The host of the webcast, rapper and State Department Music Ambassador Toni Blackman, will be joined by Pras Michel, a founding member of the hip hop group the Fugees, to discuss "how rap and hip hop have increased social awareness of the African-American experience — and raised even broader issues in contemporary society." Some of Michel's more inflammatory comments in the past raise questions about the appropriateness of his appearance with the U.S.'s music ambassador on a government-sponsored webcast representing America to the world.
In 2008, Michel was interviewed by Katie Halper about Michel's documentary Skid Row, which chronicles the rapper/filmmaker's experiences "undercover for 9 days and nights as a homeless person in downtown LA's notorious Skid Row." Michel lamented in the interview that the "African-American generation is lost. They're not being represented correctly." He found fault with Bill Cosby and Oprah for just "point[ing] fingers." He called Michael Jordan a "sell-out." But he saved his harshest words for some well-known black conservatives as he contrasted them with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama:
Somebody said to me you only like Obama because he's black. Well I can think of a couple black people I wouldn't vote for. I'm not into black power. And on the other end of the spectrum, you got the Uncle Toms, the Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice ... I'm not into that either. Obama is a uniter. He's perfectly comfortable with the skin he's in. He's not gonna sell out. That's a man of great principle.