Richard Griffin (born August 1, 1960), better known by his Stage name Professor Griff, is an American rapper, spoken word artist and lecturer. He is a member of the hip hop group Public Enemy and head of the Security of the First World.
After returning from the army, he started a security service to work the local party circuit, calling it Unity Force. At the time, Carlton Ridenhour (a.k.a. Chuck D) was part of the Spectrum City DJ-for-hire service led by Hank Shocklee, and Spectrum and Unity Force frequently worked side-by-side at local events. When Public Enemy was formed and signed to Def Jam, Ridenhour invited Griffin to be a sideman. Unity Force was renamed “The Security of the First World”, or S1W for short. The S1W’s were brought along, and became a curious combination of bodyguards/dancers for the band. Their stage routines were a loose combination of martial arts, military drill and “step show” dances lifted from black college fraternities.
His role was also that of road manager and Minister of Information, the intellectual public face of the band for interviews et cetera, as Flavor Flav was the “fun” one. He was rarely MC’ing, except between songs. Professor Griff started to emerge on the conspiracy theory scene, typically New World Order conspiracy theory. He is known for linking these allegations to past and present celebrities.
Before the release of It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Professor Griff, in his role as Minister of Information, gave interviews to UK magazines on behalf of Public Enemy, during which he made homophobic and anti-Semitic remarks. However, there was little controversy until May 22, 1989, when Griffin was interviewed by the Washington Times. At the time, Public Enemy enjoyed unprecedented mainstream attention with the single “Fight the Power” from the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.
During the interview with David Mills, Griffin made numerous statements such as “Jews are responsible for the majority of the wickedness in the world”. When the interview was published, a media firestorm emerged, and the band found itself under intense scrutiny.