GOOD MORNING: “Concentration Camp II — Da Holocaust.” That’s the cover of the latest CD from Priority Records — recently bought by EMI. Does EMI know about it? “I’m not sure they’ve heard it,” says Bryan Turner, president/CEO of Priority. But the Simon Wiesenthal Center has — and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean, faxed Turner: “It is a sad state of affairs when the Simon Wiesenthal Center has to protest to an important record company over its decision to promote and market an album titled ‘Da Holocaust’ sung by a group called ‘Concentration Camp.’ This represents the cynical expropriation of the language and imagery associated with humanity’s most notorious genocide. The popularity of rap music in American culture makes this outrageous decision all the more dangerous. You debase the memory of those who perished during the Shoah by utilizing ‘Concentration Camp’ and ‘Holocaust’ as mere marketing tools. The net result of such actions will lead to an erosion of our ability to convey to young people the crucial lessons from that horrific era.” Priority Records’ Turner claimed he did not receive the fax. So I took up the questions for myself. Turner claimed the rappers “felt their ghetto (where they grew up) was a concentration camp. They felt they were living a holocaust. I discussed it with them and they claim it’s socially redeeming.” But when I listened to the song “Sickess,” performed by Concentration Camp (Jay Lo, C-Loc and Young Bleed), I heard repeated use of the F-word, the N-word and B-word. Turner (real name, Tuchovsky) says he’s Jewish and claims he lost a member of his family in the holocaust — he’s of Russian-born parents. “My roots are in Eastern Europe.” He asserts, “There’s nothing in it (the song) supporting or condoning the Nazis.” And what about the use of those titles, I asked Turner. “I wasn’t offended by them,” he says. “They (Concentration Camp) want people to hear what they have to say. They talk about their own family lives, no fathers. If the content — the lyrics — had any connotation relative in any way to the Nazi Holocaust — I wouldn’t have released it. But these kids, they have their own view of their concentration camp and holocaust. I deal with these black kids every day — ghetto kids and they know it (the Nazi Holocaust) was a horrible thing. But they feel their generation, living in ghettos with crack and murder around them — is an awful experience.” Asked whether the title of the group and the song on the CD are distasteful, he allowed “It could very well be.” As for whether the CD could serve any useful purpose in Black-Jewish relationships, he said, “I don’t see any reason for Black-Jewish confrontation (over it). It’s more of a reason to bind.” The CD is out today and he said, so far, no one’s refused to carry it. … Meanwhile, the Wiesenthal Center, which has been monitoring the Internet and has recorded over 50,000 sales of hate CDs — all music — affirms that “This (“Da Holocaust” by Concentration Camp) presents a different kind of challenge. We have no choice but to give them publicity.” That’s showbiz?
MALCOLM X’S DAUGHTER Attalah Shabbaz spoke words of praise and Muhammad Ali’s daughter Caroline read the compliments from the late Tupac Shakur’s mother, Afeni, at the memorial for Marvin Worth at the Directors Guild. Others who recounted hilarious and human moments with Marvin in his world on stage, TV, movies and music included: Dennis Hopper, Bob Goldman, Dick Benjamin, Bob Neuwirth, David Milch, Rob Reiner, Alec Baldwin, Robert Klane, Hal Wilner, Nick Kazan, Don Was, Mark Rydell and Buddy Hackett — whose friendship with Worth went back to New Utrecht High in B’klyn. Yours truly intro’d ’em. … Joan Worth and Marvin’s family were left with many memorable recollections.
HOW DO YOU TOP IT? That’s the question after each year’s SHARE Boomtown show. The 45th was no exception. The tribute to George Gerhswin’s 100th birthday and the “Shining Spirit Award” to Quincy Jones (presented by Barbara Sinatra) made for an extravaganza that any B’way stage would be proud to book. But this one-niter was strictly for charity and it raised $1.3 million, announced president Patricia Bosley (whose husband Tom had the night off “Showboat” in San Fran — per his pact — to attend). Once again the extravaganza was exec produced by Gary Smith with a magnificent orch conducted by Ian Fraser. The entertainment included Melissa Manchester, Gordy Brown, the Crenshaw H.S. Choir, Carmen Bradford, Wild Orchid, Phil Perry, Jennifer Holliday and incredibly talented 10-year-old Isaac Wang, who 88’d Gershwin’s Concerto in F. The event on the huge CBS Stage No. 36 was a far long cry from the first SHARE show at Ciro’s. Yes, I remember that one, too. … Michele Lee’s in N.Y. for today’s announcement of her USA cabler “The Jacqueline Susann Story.” She exec produces with Peter Sussman and Ed Geron for Atlantis Films. By doing the show on USA, Lee says, “We can show more of the sexuality” of Susann’s life. … Robert Evans is recuperating from a slight stroke and is expected to recover fully.