L.A. GUNS singer Phil Lewis has refused to apologize for his onstage comment that "black people are all one-dimensional," explaining that he was simply attempting to broaden the debate on rap music.
L.A. GUNS was performing at the Fish Head Cantina in a Baltimore, Maryland suburb on Friday, April 22 when he made the comment. His observation came as he attempted to praise the life and music of Prince, who died one day earlier at the age of 57.
While recalling L.A. GUNS' early days, when they played First Avenue in Minneapolis — the music venue that helped launch the careers of many local musicians, including Prince, and was featured extensively in the movie "Purple Rain" — Lewis said to the crowd: "I remember when we were working on [L.A. GUNS' 1989 album] 'Cocked & Loaded', we were on tour, and they said there was a venue that we could play in Minnesota; it was called First Avenue. And I didn't know too much about it at the time. But after I saw the movie, and I got it; I was with the program.
"We were all into that Prince, right?! 'Purple Rain'. It was so cool, because, you know, you had all your heavy shit, and then you had the pop shit, and there was Prince doing his own fucking thing.
"The problem is, right now — and I'm not gonna be a racist about it — but black people are all one-dimensional. We need more Princes, man. We need less fucking rappers and more people like Prince."
A short time after his comments surfaced online, Lewis took to his personal Facebook page to clarify his remarks, saying that while he is sure "there are plenty of multi-dimensional, brilliant [black] musicians out there," you are "not likely to hear about them on mainstream black media."
Lewis's posting reads as follows (as captured by Metal Sludge and slightly edited for clarity):
"Alright. It seems i have ruffled a few PC feathers with my onstage comment from Friday night's show. I stand by my words and make no apology for my observations. Perhaps 'black media' would have been a better choice [of] words than 'black people.' I was just thinking about the family who recently moved in the house next to mine and [they're] all very nice but [it] is obvious that [they're] drinking the gangsta rap or hoops mentality Kool-Aid. Oops, is that racist as well?
"My solution has been to provide and teach the two 10-year-olds basic guitar with the hope it will broaden [their] horizons as it did mine.
"Don't expect there will be a new Prince anytime soon, but damn sure there will be countless rappers spouting the 'money and hoes' moronic nonsense that does the black community no favors at all.
"I posted a picture of my old band that I formed with my mate Rudy Rivera, who apparently is black — not that I ever gave it much thought; [he is] just a good mate and brilliant guitarist.
"It's one thing to say, 'Oh, I'm not a racist. Look, I have black friends,' but quite another to hitch my wagon and form a musical alliance and hopefully a career with a black musician. And, yeah, I caught some flack for it, but couldn't care less. We were mates and made great music together and race had zero to do with it.
"I'm sure there are plenty of multi-dimensional, brilliant musicians out there, but you're not likely to hear about them on mainstream black media. Shame.
"More Princes, less rappers.
"There, I said it again.