About four hours after the announcement that his controversial, politically charged ninth album was number one in the country, Nas was on a small podium in front of Fox News headquarters in New York City protesting what he sees as racist attacks against Black Americans and presidential candidate Barack Obama. In a brief prepared statement, the multi-platinum rapper pointed out examples of what he and ColorOfChange see as a long racist smear campaign against the Obama family: The onscreen graphic that referred to Michelle Obama as the Senator’s “baby mama”; Bill O’Reilly casually using the phrase “lynching party” to refer to attacks on the Senator’s wife; referencing to the couple’s infamous fist thump as a “terrorist fist jab.” Said Nas, “Fox poisons this country every time they air racist propaganda and try to call it news. This should outrage every American that Fox uses hateful language to talk about the person that may be the first black president.”
The rapper stood next to 19 neatly stacked cardboard boxes, with the number 620,127 taped to the side of each one — over 600,000 signatures gathered by ColorOfChange demanding that network president Roger Ailes “find a solution to address racial stereotyping and hate-mongering before it hits the airwaves.” Fox rejected the petitions, but Brave New Films says that Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report will accept them instead.
ColorOfChange reached out to Nas after seeing the lyrics to “Sly Fox” posted on the Brave New Films website. “We looked at it and said, ‘This is exactly what we’re talking about,'” ColorOfChange deputy director Andre Banks tells Rolling Stone. Just two weeks later, Nas was here speaking to fans, protesters and press spilling out into 6th Avenue, some even holding homemade signs markered with lyrics from the song. When asked if there was a response to “Sly Fox,” Nas rebutted quickly with, “Nah, they’re scared of me.”