Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew Is Running for Mayor of Miami

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There's a clear front-runner for mayor of Miami, now that voters have recalled the current mayor, which they did last week. And that person, of course, is Luther Campbell. "I always had a passion for helping people," Campbell told Courthouse News, "so public office has been one of my long-term goals."

You may remember Luther as the leader of 2 Live Crew in the 1990s, when he carefully positioned himself for future public office by performing such hits as "Me So Horny," "Face Down, Ass Up," and other less family-friendly tunes that ultimately resulted in obscenity prosecutions in Florida. (The convictions were overturned.) Now he wants to be the next mayor of Miami.

Does he have a platform? He does. "Miami-Dade County is a wonderful place," Campbell said, "but we have to continue to improve on the infrastructure" — hold on. Did Luther Campbell just use the word "infrastructure"? Yes. Yes he did. "We need to change the way county government does business," Campbell continued. "I am running for mayor because I want to give the people of Dade County what they need, a fresh new start. I want to bring in new ideas," said the author of "Ain't That a Bitch," Parts 1, 2 and 3. Which, to be fair, did appear on a 1992 solo album called I Got Sh*t on My Mind, so maybe that shows he actually has been thinking through his public-policy views for a while now.

Campbell said that his priorities will include fighting crime, attracting new business, and ensuring that county jobs go to county residents. Oh, and taxing strippers. "We do not want to leave any money on the table," Campbell said. (Or on the stage.)

Campbell also claimed, apparently with a straight face, that he had "always been an advocate for youth and families" (always?) and that he didn't think his past performances (of feminist anthems such as "Shake That Ass, Bitch") would hurt him with Miami's female voters. He is clearly planning to present his rap career as that of an artist bravely exploring the bounds of constitutional doctrine. "When I chose to fight in the '90s for freedom of speech," Campbell said, "it was about individual expression." Hard to argue with that.

2 Live Crew was also involved in a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. In Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, a unanimous Court held that the group's song "Pretty Woman" was a protected parody of the Roy Orbison original. Justice Souter, what was your take on it?

While we might not assign a high rank to the parodic element here, we think it fair to say that 2 Live Crew's song reasonably could be perceived as commenting on the original or criticizing it …. 2 Live Crew juxtaposes the romantic musings of a man whose fantasy comes true with degrading taunts, a bawdy demand for sex, and a sigh of relief from paternal responsibility. The later words can be taken as a comment on the naivete of the original of an earlier day, as a rejection of its sentiment that ignores the ugliness of street life and the debasement that it signifies. It is this joinder of reference and ridicule that marks off the author's choice of parody from the other types of comment and criticism that traditionally have had a claim to fair use protection as transformative works.

Yeah, that's what I got out of it. Speaking of "transformative works," Campbell will be running against three other candidates in the upcoming election. He says if he doesn't win, he'll run again in 2012.