President Joe Biden went viral for botching rapper LL Cool J’s name (real name James Todd Smith) during his remarks at the Congressional Black Caucus Phoenix Awards dinner on Saturday, Sept. 23.
Biden’s blunder came at the beginning of his speech, highlighting those who have evinced leadership in their respective fields and impacted Black culture, from Democratic Tennessee State Representative Justin Jones to LL Cool J.
Amid addressing MC Lyte and LL Cool J’s influence on hip hop, the 80-year-old president fumbled LL Cool J’s name.
“The two of the great artists of our time representing the groundbreaking legacy of hip hop in America, LL J Cool J,” Biden said, earning laughter from the audience.
He talked about how big the “Mama Said Knock You Out” rapper’s biceps were compared to his thighs, referring to him as “boy” before switching to “man.”
“By the way, that boy’s got…that man’s got biceps bigger than my thighs. I think he’s…,” Biden stated, causing the crowd to laugh.
The president then shifted the topic to MC Lyte. Though the moment was brief, viewers couldn’t let Biden’s pronunciation mistake go unseen or unheard.
Hollywood Unlock posted the clip, and internet users reacted.
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“I don’t like how he called him a BOY.”
“That Boy!! That was a bigger f**k up than his name. That’s for damn sure.”
“Did he say ‘that boy’ then tried to clean it up? Wow.”
“Joe Biden barely remembers HIS OWN name, LL Cool J’s name damn near gave him a stroke.”
Biden is known for referring to African-American men as “boy.” He recently did it to Maryland Governor Wes Moore during a speech.
Slave masters referred to male slaves as “boys” because of their authority over them.
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation held the Phoenix Awards dinner at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
During his speech, Biden acknowledged New Edition’s Mike Bivins and his “40 years [of] producing music that lifts our souls. Forty years and still considered new, I can understand that.”
Before Biden took the podium, Vice President Kamala Harris congratulated LL Cool J and MC Lyte for their latest accolades.
“I also extend congratulations to all our Phoenix Award winners, including LL Cool J and MC Lyte, representing 50 years of hip-hop.”
While Biden may need to brush up on the biggest names in hip hop, VP Harris wasn’t shy to talk about rappers she enjoyed during an interview with Keke Palmer on Baby, This Is Keke Palmer.
Harris revealed that although she’s from the Bay area, where many listened to E-40, she enjoyed some Too Short, an LA-born rapper.
Harris got bright-eyed when she added that she met Too Short at the White House.