Ludacris and his “uncomfortable” meeting with Oprah
(Credit: Eva Rinaldi)

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Ludacris and his "uncomfortable" meeting with Oprah

Ludacris is a household name in hip-hop and has a multitude of rap anthems under his belt. From ‘Number One Spot’ off his album, Red Light District, to his underground hit ‘Stand Up’, Ludacris most definitely has some jams. 

Ludacris created some fantastic music during his career with his debut album Back For The First Time, giving an authentic voice to the city of Atlanta for the first time. As a southern artist on the Def Jam South label, Ludacris, along with his cohort, Disturbing Tha Peace, was integral in bringing the ‘Dirty South’ experience to the world. With tracks such as ‘Southern Hospitality’ adding to the regional melting pot of hip-hop, Ludacris brought the slang and the vibes of the ATL to the masses. 

Before fame, Ludacris was a personality on local Atlanta radio under the moniker Chris Lova Lova. The rapper brushed shoulders with super producer Timbaland while pursuing radio and would go on to feature on the producer’s track ‘Phat Rabbit’. With his debut mixtape, Incognegro circulating the Atlanta streets, Def Jam South would sign Ludacris and shop his debut album Back For The First Time. With good marketing and the city of Atlanta behind him, the album subsequently entered the charts at number four.

Between 2001 and 2003, Ludacris would go on to have great success through features. The rapper appeared on several successful tracks in this period, including ‘Gossip Folks’ by Missy Elliott and Jermaine Dupri’s ‘Welcome to Atlanta’. As a successful mainstream rapper with a career that lasted the better part of a decade, the musician and actor (real name Christopher Bridges) has had many interviews. However, in one of his more important chats, he spoke about his interaction with billionaire broadcaster and television host Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey is undoubtedly idolised and adored by many African-Americans. Still, there are many who the star has rubbed the wrong way; unsurprisingly, many of these individuals are part of the hip-hop community. From 50 Cent to Ice Cube, a multitude of rap artists have vocalised their disdain for the media mogul, especially her treatment of them. Among those who have criticised Winfrey is Bridges. In promotion of the 2005 film Crash, Ludacris appeared on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. However, after doing so, the rapper let it be known to various media outlets that he felt unwelcome and highly uncomfortable in Winfrey’s presence.

Ludacris disclosed that when the cameras weren’t rolling, Winfrey chastised and derided him for using language derogatory to others in his music, resulting in him feeling undermined and judged. In an interview with the prestigious magazine GQ, Bridges spoke on the real nature of his interaction with the billionaire broadcaster, unveiling, “She edited out a lot of my comments while keeping her own in. Of course, it’s her show, but we were doing a show on racial discrimination, and she gave me a hard time as a rapper when I came on there as an actor.”

The Atlanta native continued, “After the taping, she pulled me into a room, and we had a five-minute conversation. What I got was that by having rappers on her show, she feels like she is empowering them.” However, the rapper powerfully proceeded to conclude by bluntly stating, “It was like being at someone’s house who doesn’t really want you there. It was already uncomfortable.”

Many African-Americans have come out publicly to denounce Winfrey over the years and not just rappers. In 2019, Baltimore comedian Mo’Nique revealed that Winfrey blindsided her by inviting her entire family onto the show in spite of the fact that (behind closed doors) the comedian had said she did not want the dysfunctionality and toxicity of her family to be showcased on television. You can see Ludacris and Mo’Nique’s Oprah debacles in the video below.