Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Local Politician Unknowingly Funky, Freaky "Rick James (search) is the name of both a Hattiesburg City Council candidate and the flamboyant singer of the 1981 hit 'Super Freak,' who died last August just as he was poised to make a comeback.

The self-described 'king of punk funk,' jailed later in his career for drug abuse and violence against women, is the subject of a recurring skit on the Comedy Central cable-TV hit 'Chappelle's Show,' in which host Dave Chappelle (search), dressed as the singer, acts bizarrely and randomly shouts out 'I'm Rick James, b*tch!'

According to the New York Post, people in Hattiesburg have been stealing 'Vote Rick James' signs at such a rate that the aspiring city councilman's wife has asked Comedy Central for compensation.

'We would appreciate a small campaign donation for more signs, as we are working-class people and financing this campaign out of our own pockets,' wrote Diane James to the cable channel. 'Each time a sign is stolen, it costs us $4.75!'

The Mississippi Rick James ran in 2003 for the state house but apparently had no trouble from sign-stealers then.

'Every time a 'Rick James' piece runs on your show, we stand to lose dozens of signs overnight, which end up decorating people's front yards and dorm rooms,' Diane James added, not specifying whether the relocated placards remained in the relevant electoral district.

Not only are the signs costing a bundle, says Mrs. Rick James, but there's a degree of public humiliation involved.

'Young children on bikes scream, 'I'm Rick James, b*tch!' as we drive by in our car with our 'Rick James' car signs,' she states. 'People even drive by our home and scream, 'Super Freak.''

According to the Post, Comedy Central has not yet responded to James' letter."

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