Elton John, Madonna, Stevie Wonder Stand Up in Support of Eminem’s “MMLP” (2001)

Remy Gelenidze

Back in 2001, Eminem’s 4 Grammy nominations for his second solo studio album The Marshall Mathers LP and the performance with Elton John at the Grammys caused lots of controversy. “Evil” this is how one of the leading gay-rights activists described Elton John’s decision to perform with Eminem at the Grammy awards.

National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) held a “town hall” meeting called “Intolerance in Music,” in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). But in spite of the Recording Academy’s promise to bring together artists, young fans and members of GLAAD, the meeting took place with only about thirty members of the public, outnumbered by almost three times as many journalists. Several artists — including legendary producer Dr. Dre — were asked to attend, but none of them showed up.

In his opening remarks at the gathering at the Los Angeles Public Library on Tuesday (February 20), GLAAD entertainment media director R. Scott Seomin said he was “not here to speak out against Eminem. We are here to speak out against his lyrics, which encourage violence against lesbians and gays and generally against women.”

But legendary artists like Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Randy Newman stood up in support of the most controversial rapper on the eve of the music industry’s biggest night.

“As a gay artist, I am always asked by a lot of people, ‘But what about the content of Eminem’s music?’ I think there is far more, a big sense of humor on the album than people think. It appeals to my English black sense of humor. We live in an age of political correctness where you can not say this or that. I honestly do not think people will go out and start beating and killing people and murdering someone because of this album. The Marshall Mathers LP absolutely got my vote for album of the year.”Elton John

“Since when is offensive language a reason for being unpopular? I like the fact that Eminem is brash and angry and politically incorrect and speaks his mind. At least he has an opinion. He is stirring things up, he is provoking a discussion, he is making people’s blood boil. He is reflecting what is going on in society right now. That is what art is supposed to do, ain’t it?”Madonna 

“Rap to me is a modern blues — a statement of how and where people are at. I think art is a reflection of our society, and people do not like to confront the realities in society. We dance forever around the issues, and embrace songs about unity and love. But until we really confront the truth, we are going to have a Tupac or Eminem or Biggie Smalls to remind us about it — and thank God. They force people to look at realities in society. That does not mean their reflection is my reflection.”Stevie Wonder

“I do not know from his work that he genuinely hates women or genuinely hates his mother, but I know that he is funny. I can not imagine people sit around the studio going, ‘You really made a serious statement about women, Em.’ He is the best comic sort of writer or storyteller that has come around in memory” – Randy Newman (the Grammy-winning songwriter and composer of the soundtrack to Disney’s Oscar winning “Toy Story”)

After several years, The Marshall Mathers LP became the best selling hip-hop album of all time, WORLDWIDE (32 million copies sold to date)…. You can read the full article on MTV and check some images of protestants below

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